Lethbridge College will unveil a public exhibit documenting the experiences of Sixties Scoop survivors as part of Truth and Reconciliation Week Sept. 26 to 30.
The exhibit, along with several other initiatives taking place on campus, will encourage individuals to educate themselves on the history of Canada’s residential school system and its harmful legacy, while memorializing the children who were lost. It’s also a time to honour residential school survivors, their families and their communities.
“Acknowledging the pain caused by the residential school system – past and present – is an important part of truth and reconciliation,” says Dr. Brad Donaldson, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “We must use every opportunity, including next week, to listen to – and learn from – the Indigenous community so we may continue forward on this path.”
Truth and Reconciliation Week at Lethbridge College begins with an opening prayer from Betty Ann Little Wolf, a Blackfoot Grandparent (Kaa’ahsinnoon), at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Centre Core.
Little Wolf, along with members of the college’s leadership team, will be on hand to welcome Sandra Relling, President of the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Alberta. Together, they will launch the Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop exhibit.
The traveling exhibit features testimonies from 12 Indigenous survivors of the Sixties Scoop. It explores their experiences and the effects that child removal policies had, and continue to have, on their lives.
The Sixties Scoop refers to the mass removal of Indigenous children from their homes in the 1960s. Thousands were placed in the child welfare system – many in non-Indigenous households. As a result, children lost contact with their families, their culture and their language.
Bi-Giwen: Coming Home – Truth Telling from the Sixties Scoop will be open for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday in Centre Core.
A t-shirt activity for Orange Shirt Day will take place on Thursday. Students will be able to share, in their own words, the meaning of “Every Child Matters” by writing messages on orange cardstock t-shirts. Indigenous Services will also participate in a “guest takeover” of the college’s Instagram account as they highlight the day’s events and ask the campus community: what does Truth and Reconciliation mean to you?
Additional activities, geared toward college students and employees, will also be happening on campus next week, including Faceless Dolls drop-in sessions and Truth and Reconciliation sharing with Eldon Weasel Child, a recognized Knowledge Keeper and Siksika Knowledge course co-instructor at Old Sun College in Siksika Nation.
“It’s important that we, as an institution, continue to hold these events to bring attention to truth and reconciliation,” says Lowell Yellowhorn, Indigenous Services manager. “The impacts of the residential school system are still being felt today, and we must be collaborative in finding ways to move forward.”
Lethbridge College will be closed on Friday, Sept. 30, for National Truth and Reconciliation Day. The college encourages all students, employees and the broader community to take this time to remember the children lost to the residential school system and to honour survivors and their families.
Learn more about the college’s Truth and Reconciliation Week events on the Indigenous Services webpage.