Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th, 2021 marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impact of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Along with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation the orange shirt has become a symbol for the movement. The orange shirt recognizes the suffering of the children who were forced to experience residential schools. The orange shirt memorializes the experience of Phyllis Webstad, from the Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) First Nation, who arrived on her first day of school dressed proudly in a new orange shirt, only to have it immediately stripped from her. The shirt is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem perpetrated upon Indigenous children.

In observance of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we invited everyone at TKA+D to pause and reflect on our commitment to improve our relationship and understanding with all Indigenous Peoples, their respective cultures and traditions.

We are sensitive to the fact that an Indigenous person was not present at this inaugural workshop, nevertheless, we felt it was important to meet for a moment of collective pause and reflection to mark this historic first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This workshop was inspired by previous discussions with an Elder, who spoke to the TKA+D team in fall 2021. The 2.5-hour workshop was facilitated by an internal committee. The workshop was part of TKA+D’s onaoina effort to improve our understanding, contribution, and further development of meaningful relationships with local Indigenous communities.

The workshop consisted of five breakout groups, where two discussion prompts were posed to each breakout group:

  1. Share a single word to describe one’s association with nature/land
  2. What is your experience with Indigenous culture as it relates to each of TKA+D’s five guiding principles?
    1. Humility and respect
    2. Design excellence
    3. Technical excellence
    4. Environmental sustainability
    5. A balanced and health lifestyle

Concluding statements brought everyone back together, gave thanks, and extended an invitation to continue this dialogue
We are grateful to evervone at TKA+D who enaaged in the diverse and enrichina conversations that occurred throughout the
duration of the workshop. The quidina principles provided a strona basis for discussion and uncovered two underlving and
principal themes Human Interaction and Environmental Sustainabilitv. Moving forward TKA+D is committed to acting on our