Dear campus community members,
Today, June 21, is National Indigenous Peoples Day and the official start of summer. So as we welcome the summer season, we also celebrate Indigenous peoples in Canada – their history, culture, language, wisdom, and knowledge.
For those of us who are not Indigenous, it is a time for us to express our gratitude and our joy to live in a country with such a deep Indigenous heritage. It is a time to appreciate the richness that Indigenous People bring to Canada. As Treaty People, we share this great country with those who can trace their ancestry back thousands of years on this land.
This is a privilege that we enjoy as Canadians, and all too often, we do not express it or understand it enough. This year we are also sharing grief and anger at discovering the remains of so many children – innocent human beings - treated inhumanely in the residential school system. We know that things happened in the past that would be unthinkable in the Canada of today. Yet, we also know that the legacies of the past still haunt us today and are prevalent as racism and discrimination in modern society.
Acadia is trying to walk the pathway of truth and reconciliation hand-in-hand with the Mi’kmaw People and seeks to make our university a truly anti-racist community. We do these things because they are right and because, as a learning community, we want to create a better society today and for the future. That is what education is all about, and we can see even in the university's history how damaging it can be when education is used for other, more sinister purposes.
So, on this National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021, let us celebrate Indigenous heritage and peoples in Canada, reflect on the lessons of the past, and work together in harmony to create a better world for all of our students to live happily and successfully
Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!