Western president Alan Shepard, acting provost Sarah Prichard, and associate vice-president, Indigenous Initiatives, Christy R. Bressette, issued this statement today:
Today Western continues to mourn, acknowledging the unfathomable loss of 751 Indigenous lives at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. We offer our deepest sympathies to Indigenous communities and organizations all across Turtle Island, who face unrelenting intergenerational trauma and the painful legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
We stand with Indigenous students, staff and faculty at Western, their families and communities during this heartbreaking time.
As an educational institution, we have an important role to play in acknowledging this horrible history, addressing the longstanding and continuing impact, and ensuring that Indigenous Peoples are included as vital and valued members of our local and national communities.
Counselling supports remain available for all members of Western’s community. The national Indian Residential School crisis line is available to provide 24/7 support to Residential School survivors and others who are affected: 1-866-925-4419.
Western is steadfast in our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation through the implementation of our new Strategic Plan, which makes clear that the distinct rights of Indigenous people are an essential institutional responsibility. With this plan, we are renewing Western’s commitment to increasing Indigenous perspectives and presence across all levels of community life, work, study and research.
Today, we are lowering the flags once again to honour all of the Indigenous lives that have been lost.
Alan Shepard, President and Vice-Chancellor
Sarah Prichard, Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Christy R. Bressette, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Indigenous Initiatives)