Learning and remembering: National Indigenous Veterans Day and Remembrance Day 2021

Stepping forward to meet one of the “seven real acts of reconciliation”

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Veterans' Week 2021 image from Veterans Affairs Canada

In May of this year, following the discovery of 215 children’s graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, Capilano University lowered to half-mast the National Flag of Canada that flies on our main campus. On November 8, 2021, after nearly six months at half-mast, the Flag was raised and then lowered to half-mast in honour of National Indigenous Veterans Day. At sunset on November 8, the Flag was once again raised to full-mast. It will be lowered at 11 a.m. on November 11, 2021 in keeping with our Remembrance Day protocol for flag display.

A number of factors were considered in the decision to return the Flag to full-mast at sunset on Remembrance Day. While there is no one singular view of the right way to proceed, we respect the guidance of Indigenous voices and the family heads of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc who petitioned the federal government on October 18, 2021 for “seven real acts of reconciliation” one of which being to fly the Canadian flag at half-mast in honour of the children only on September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This year, in the lead up to Veteran’s Week, there has been a breadth of commentary on how best to honour all veterans of military service. Through the process, our awareness of the injustices imposed upon Indigenous veterans has been deepened. We are learning more about policies that denied Indigenous veterans their status and rights in their Nations and communities; refused them pensions and benefits to which all other veterans were entitled; and failed to recognize their major contributions to military service, safety and defense efforts.

The ongoing work of reconciliation asks us to confront the structures of our institutions and the policies and practices that have excluded and marginalized Indigenous Peoples. Recognizing this, I have directed a fulsome review and consultation to update Capilano University Flag Display Policy E.410. As with all policy reviews, all members of the Capilano University community will be invited to comment on proposed revisions. Consultation with local First Nations is essential, and I look forward to taking this new step in our reconciliation work in the months ahead.

Sincerely,

Paul

Submitted by: Communications