Kwantlen Polytechnic University Students Speak Out About Truth-telling, Reconciliation and the Path Forward

Wed, Nov 30, 2011



For immediate release

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Students Speak Out About Truth-telling, Reconciliation and the Path Forward

METRO VANCOUVER, BC – (December 1, 2011) – Kwantlen Polytechnic University sociology students will once again invite Native Elders, leaders, and Indian residential school survivors to educate community members about the ongoing consequences of colonial oppression for Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation process that has begun in Canada. "Reconcile This: Telling Truths About Colonization, Indian Residential Schools and Violence Against Native Women in Canada" is the fourth of a series of public education symposiums that invite the public to contribute to local and national dialogue about colonization, social justice, and reconciliation.

The event takes place on December 6, which is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Speakers include Survivors and Community Organizers from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Women's Centre; Dr. Paulette Regan, author of Unsettling the Settler Within (UBC Press); and Chief Robert Joseph of the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society. This event is part of a project initiated by Seema Ahluwalia, chair of Kwantlen's Department of Sociology, called "Teaching and Learning for Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation".

"My intention is to provide opportunities for Canadians to reflect upon the ongoing injustices faced by Aboriginal Peoples in Canada by considering how the exclusion of Indigenous voices in mainstream Canadian institutions impoverishes our national memory and how our historical amnesia and collective denial inhibits the process of truth-telling, reconciliation and the path to peaceful co-existence" says Ahluwalia.

"Through this project, students engage in meaningful social action by helping to organize an event that brings diverse members of the community together and makes Indigenous knowledge and experience central to our understanding of who we are as Canadians. Students organize poster presentations and co-host the symposium, while also fund-raising and supporting community-led initiatives. They develop important research, teamwork, and global citizenship skills in the process of empowering themselves by acting on issues of social justice with compassion, commitment, and leadership," Ahluwalia says. "Public education is a reciprocal gift – students share what they learn while also accepting, with gratitude, the gifts of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, stories, and scholarship."

The Symposium will take place between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm at Kwantlen's Richmond Campus Conference Centre, Room 2550.

Public Education Symposium Details:

  • What: A public education symposium exploring the effects of colonization on Aboriginal Peoples and move us all beyond collective denial and historical amnesia to peaceful coexistence
  • Who: Presented by the Kwanten Polytechnic University Department of Sociology
  • When: December 6, 2011 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Where: Richmond Campus Conference Centre, 8771 Landsdowne Road, Room 2550 Sides A&B

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for more than 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 17,500 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


For information on the symposium, contact:
Seema Ahluwalia,
Chair, Kwantlen Department of Sociology
Tel: 604.599.2631

For more information about Kwntlen, contact:
Joanne Saunders
Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 604.599.2243