In 2013, former UBC President Stephen Toope invited the UBC community to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) national event in Vancouver. UBC suspended classes on Sept. 18, 2013, and faculty, staff and students were invited to engage in national and university events related to the TRC. Indigenous Initiatives at CTLT responded to this call as part of our strategic portfolio — our work focused largely on supporting curricular and programmatic efforts that would engage the UBC community in gaining a deeper understanding of the history and legacy of Indian Residential schools in Canada and initiatives supported by the TRC.
The momentum and connections made through this engagement have created pathways for future development. In 2017, the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) opened at UBC, and President Santa Ono delivered a statement of apology for the university’s involvement in an educational system that supported residential schools. The IRSHDC is a manifestation of UBC’s commitment to Aboriginal engagement, and a promise in word and deed that will reach across student experiences, research excellence and community partnerships. As the IRSHDC develops its programs and offerings, CTLT Indigenous Initiatives will work in close collaboration with this group on educational initiatives including Our Calls to Action TLEF.