Skip to main content

'Introduction to some of the harder conversations': UPEI marks a week of Truth and Reconciliation

The University of Prince Edward Island marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a ceremony Friday, which is part of a week of events leading up to Truth and Reconciliation Day and Treaty Day, organized through the university’s Mawi’omi Centre.

“I certainly didn’t want Indigenous community, or youth, or anybody, who was feeling the weight of the truth component of Truth and Reconciliation to not have a space to go to,” said Jasmine Pauze, Mawi’omi centre coordinator.

It’s the first time the week has been officially celebrated by the university, with a number of Truth and Reconciliation and cultural events, as well as a ceremony ahead of the official day while most students are around campus.

“This is kind of, almost like an introduction, to some of the harder conversations that might be had tomorrow,” said Pauze on Friday.

Elder in Residence Judy Clark spoke to students today. She said many in the Indigenous community already treat Truth and Reconciliation as a week-long event, and a time to share hard stories.

“We want to support the community when they’re available too,” said Clark in an interview Friday. “If they come out, which they did today, it’s very honouring, that they’ve taken the time to come, and we can share with them.”

She said the week is a reminder of the struggles Indigenous people have faced, but also a chance to work to improve the future.

“Be proud of who you are, and be proud of where you’ve come from, and always helping and advocating for your community,’ said Clark.

Truth and Reconciliation Day and Treaty Day events continue on campus and around the island through the weekend.

This will be the a second Truth and Reconciliation Day and Treaty Day since the P.E.I. legislature voted unanimously to ask the feds to change the name of the Confederation Bridge to the Epekwitk Crossing.

In a statement Friday, the department of public service and procurement offered no update on a timeline for the change.

“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation serves as a day to acknowledge and reflect on the painful consequences of more than 150 years of colonization and remember the wrongs of the past.” said Office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Jean-Yves-Duclos, in a statement.

“As the newly appointed Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Minister Duclos will take the time needed to carefully consider the motion that was passed in the P.E.I. legislature last year. Further advancing on the path towards reconciliation is and has been a priority of our government since the start.”

For more P.E.I. news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected