The Road to Reconciliation
When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report was released in 2015, Ambrose President Gordon T. Smith established a commission to determine how we should respond as an institution located on Treaty 7 land.
The commission, made up of professors, students and staff, has met regularly over the past three semesters to consider how Ambrose should engage in reconciliation. At the same time, the university held a Truth and Reconciliation Chapel Series that invited our whole community into this process.
TRC chapel series
This chapel series was an important first step in raising awareness about reconciliation on the Ambrose campus. With seven services running over the past two terms, it provided an opportunity for all of us to reflect, pray and act in response to the TRC’s final report.
How we are responding
The response of the President's Commission was formally released on April 4, at the final event in the TRC Chapel Series. The commission expressed how “Treaty 7 holds out the possibility of new relations with the Indigenous peoples of this territory,” owning Ambrose’s responsibility to honour the terms and the spirit of the treaty and stating that “we will find ways to enter into a respectful relationship that will build toward reconciliation as individuals and as an institution.”
Accordingly, the commission recommends that we engage in activities that confront colonial attitudes and create space for mutually beneficial relationships to flourish. Next steps will involve consulting with Indigenous elders and educators, developing curriculum that builds reconciliation, seeking ways to decolonize our campus culture and honouring an Indigenous understanding of land in the way we steward campus space.
Want to learn more?
To learn more about how we approach reconciliation, read about Bishop Mark MacDonald’s visit to campus at our opening reconciliation event in March 2016.
Wondering what reconciliation looks like?
Alanna Schwartz was the student representative on the President’s Commission and is a recent graduate of the Ambrose University English program. At age 15, while learning about the history of apartheid in South Africa, she began to consider her responsibility to examine Canada's past and reconcile both with Indigenous communities here and with her own identity as a settler.
Wondering how you can engage?
If you're wondering what reconciliation can look like in your own life or in your church, we invite you to prayerfully consider the reality of the past and present treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada and to take responsibility for promoting reconciliation into the future.
Check out this prayer resource that guides you through the TRC's calls to action.