National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Virtual events at McMaster

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30, is a time for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the ongoing and tragic legacy of residential schools.

Please see below a guide to virtual campus events on and leading up to September 30, as well as guidance for instructors, students and employees who wish to take time on this day of recognition to reflect, listen and learn.

Events and workshops

Virtual tour of the Mush Hole (a.k.a. Mohawk Institute Residential School). 

September 29th | 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  

Register here

Hosted by McMaster’s Indigenous Studies Program, this virtual tour video was created with local production company Thru the Reddoor, and it follows the guide, Lorrie Gallant, as she gives a tour of the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School.

Orange Shirt Day Commemoration at McMaster

September 30th | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

McMaster University’s Indigenous Studies Program, Indigenous Research Institute, Indigenous Student Services, and Indigenous Health Learning Lodge are hosting an event to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the children who never made it home and those who survived. Attendees are encouraged to wear orange to show their support and to honour survivors of residential schools.


  • Opening
  • Prayer & Hand drum song
  • Jingle Dress Dancers
  • Words from Edebwed Ogichidaa Val King
  • Closing

Indigenous Education Council announcement

September 30th | 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  

McMaster’s Indigenous Education Council will provide an important update on their work to promote and enhance the advancement of Indigenous education at McMaster.

Speakers include Randy Jackson, Indigenous Education Council Academic Co-Chair, President David Farrar, Provost, Vice President Academic Susan Tighe, and Tracy Bear, Director of the McMaster Indigenous Research Institute.

Virtual workshop: Indigenous Art and Connection to Land

September 30th | 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

Register here

This event is hosted by the McMaster Museum of Art and the Student Wellness Centre.

Through guided looking and reflective exercises, attendees will engage with notions of land as represented in work by Indigenous artists from several nations. McMaster-area students (traditional territory of Mississauga and Haudenosaunee Nations) will connect with art, histories, and issues directly related to the land in which they live and examine their shared responsibility as outlined in the Dish With One Spoon wampum agreement.


Campus community guidance


For instructors and students: 

Instructors may choose to cancel class or may choose to use class for a discussion around the legacy of residential schools and reconciliation. Please communicate clearly with students so they know what to expect in advance of September 30th  

Students are encouraged to take time to mark this important day by joining the livestreamed events above or participating in community events. Instructors are asked to provide flexibility in the morning of the 30th, when the Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education Council events are held, as students may wish to participate.   

For employees:  

Although September 30th is not a statutory holiday in Ontario, staff and faculty are encouraged to participate in the events outlined above to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and supervisors are asked to support these requests where possible. 

Lights and lowered flags on campus:

McMaster is participating in a  National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) initiative to Light the Country Orange for September 30.

The exterior of University Hall, Hamilton Hall, Gilmour Hall, Burke Sciences and John Hodgins Engineering, L.R. Wilson Hall, MUSC and the Indigenous Circle will light up orange on September 30 to honour the children who did not come home from residential schools, survivors and their families.

Flags across campus will be lowered to half-mast on September 30th.


Orange Shirt Day information & resources

Please see below resources for further learning about the history and impact of residential schools.



Supports available for students, faculty and staff

Community members seeking support can contact:

  • Indigenous Wellness Counsellor, Indigenous Student Services ( – for students
  • Indigenous Students Health Sciences Office (
  • Elder-in-Residence, Indigenous Student Services ( – for students and employees
  • Equity and Inclusion Office ( – for students and employees
  • Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Hotline, 1-866-925-4419
  • Hope for Wellness Help Line, 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at

Employees seeking support may also access support through the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP):

  • Contact Homewood Health through their website ( or by phone toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to book appointments, or access any EFAP service

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