Every Child Matters | UNB

Every Child Matters: Guiding our Children Home

A National day for Truth and Reconciliation

Content warning: This event relates to Indian Residential Schools and deals with topics which may cause trauma to readers due to its troubling subject matter.

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, Canada designated Sept. 30 National Truth and Reconciliation Day to provide an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools and to honour their survivors, their families and communities.

Orange shirt day originates from the testimony of Phyllis Webstad, from the Stwecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation. In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s residential school in Wiliams Lake, BC, six-year-old Phyllis wore her new orange shirt gifted to her by her grandmother for the occasion. When she arrived at school, she was stripped of her orange shirt, her hair was cut and she never saw her shirt again. Phyllis’ story is emblematic of children’s experiences at residential schools across Canada.

It is appropriate that the news of these children’s deaths and the finding of their remains in unmarked graves across Canada has initiated a time of national mourning. In the spirit of building relationships and processing this grief on a more local level, UNB staff, faculty and students will gather with Wabanaki peoples in ceremony to honour survivors like Phyllis Webstad and pay tribute to the children who did not return home from residential schools.

Commemorative event

On Sept. 30 – which is both Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – the University of New Brunswick will be closed, and a commemorative ceremony will be held on the Fredericton campus to honor the survivors of residential schools and to commemorate the children who did not return home.

Members of the community are invited to join this in-person event. To participate, we are encouraging the UNB community to write tributes on one of the pieces of paper provided at the event. They will then be placed in a commemorative space, where they will be displayed. If you are unable to attend the event in person, please contact the MWC to submit your tribute.

Please note that UNB follows the latest COVID-19 recommendations, as set out by New Brunswick Public Health. In order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, there will be a limited number of seats available. Members of our community who are interested in attending the in-person event are asked to RSVP to confirm their attendance via email to president@unb.ca.

Date: Sept. 30, 2021
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Fourth Floor, Performance Gym, Richard J. CURRIE CENTER

Please be advised that anyone attending this in-person event will be required to wear a community face mask and show proof of vaccination before entering. Please come early prepared to show your ID and digital or paper proof of vaccination. This is being implemented as part of the recent provincial government’s new regulations in response to rising COVID-19 cases in the province.

For those not comfortable attending an in-person event, and because seating is limited, the event will also be livestreamed:

Vaughan Nicholas, Residential School Survivor

Vaughan Nicholas is a member of Tobique First Nation who attended Shubenacadie Residential School from 1955 to 1962. He is currently a councilor at Tobique First Nation and has been a councilor for 22 years. He also served as Chief from 1977 to 1979. Even though he was unable to attend the commemorative event at UNB on Sept. 30, he was willing to share his experiences from the residential school system.

Wabanaki language app

Wolastoqey Latuwekwakon is a web and mobile app developed by Diego Bear, a Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre summer student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. In this app, Imelda Perley, UNB’s former Elder-in-Residence and a fluent speaker of Wolastoqey, narrates hundreds of Wolastoqey words and phrases to immerse listeners in Wolastoqey language and culture.

This app is designed to teach Wolastoqey phrases for the seasons, animals, clothing, and games, as well as information on Wolastoqey smudging ceremonies, a reading of a Huron Christmas Carol, and much more. In addition to Wolastoqey language narrations, this app includes content designed to teach users how to write Wolastoqey words using both the Newell-hale and Teeter writing systems and includes a quiz component designed to test your knowledge of the Wolastoqey language.

Download the app

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The health and safety of our community is our top priority. UNB works closely with New Brunswick Public Health to adhere to provincial guidelines. Check UNB’s coronavirus information & updates regularly as new policies may be implemented over the coming weeks.