Increased funding for Indigenous students and more Indigenous course content are two of the commitments Nova Scotia’s Mount Saint Vincent University made on Wednesday as part of its apology for ties to the Canadian residential school system.
The drumming and singing were performed as part of the school’s apology and pledge ceremony at the Mount Saint Vincent campus wikuom, also known as wigwam, in Halifax.
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During the ceremony, the university’s interim president, Ramona Lumpkin, noted that the school’s founders and previous owners, the Halifax Sisters of Charity, had members working in residential schools in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
“We will walk with members of the indigenous community on a healing journey, recognizing that the truth must be heard and recognized to advance long-term sustainable change,” Lumpkin said in a statement.
Members of the Sisters of Charity were stationed at the Shubenacadie Residential School, which was open from 1930 to 1967 about 60 kilometers north of Halifax, and at the Cranbrook Residential School in southeastern British Columbia from the late 19th century to 1970.
In the text of its apology, the university says its responsibility extends to actions – and omissions – shared by other Canadian universities.
“We educate people who worked in schools and other people who took their place in a society that disregards indigenous rights and treaties,” he says.
“For many years, we did not address the exclusion of indigenous youth from the benefits and advantages of a college education. We often ignore, sometimes we just keep quiet, about the harm done to children by residential schools – our teachers didn’t teach about this story. “
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Along with indigenous community leaders, residential school survivors and university representatives, Lumpkin said the school’s indigenous advisers made it clear that the institution must continue to work to build programs and services for the benefit of indigenous peoples.
The apology comes after Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia announced in May that it had used ground-penetrating radar to locate the remains of more than 200 children long believed missing from the residential school that operated. there between 1890 and 1969. Of course, other indigenous nations have announced the discovery of unidentified graves using similar search methods.
“We apologize to all of you who are survivors of residential schools, to your families and communities, and to all indigenous peoples,” Lumpkin said. “Each recovery from the nameless grave of a child has deepened our grief at the immense injustice committed throughout our country, when children were ripped from their language, their culture and their families.”
Lumpkin went on to describe Mount Saint Vincent’s commitments to the Indian community, including the reestablishment of an elders-in-residence program that will allow Indian elders to be part of the campus community.
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 20, 2021.
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