Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30th National Day for Truth & Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2023

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) will be observed at Western University in 2023 on Friday, September 29. This observance aligns with Theme #2 of Western’s Institutional Plan,  Towards Western at 150 , to “advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities.”

NDTR is one special day observed annually; however,  the work of Truth and Reconciliation must be embraced daily to foster meaningful and lasting change. Western has designated September 29 as a non-instructional day, which means no regularly scheduled classes will be held. This will provide everyone within the learning community an opportunity to engage with special events planned for the day which will be led by

  1. the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII); and
  2. individual faculties and support units (with guidance provided by the OII).

OII-led NDTR Events   

  • In addition to regular and ongoing programming, supports, and initiatives provided by OII to further the work of Reconciliation, special Indigenous-led NDTR activities for everyone at Western on September 29 will include:
  • an Elder-led sacred fire at the  Wampum Learning Lodge  (WLL), where people may come throughout the day to quietly reflect and offer prayers;
  • a flag-raising ceremony at Western’s Concrete Beach, led by Western’s Indigenous Student Association (this will occur on Monday, September 25 at 10:00 a.m., with the flag flying all week-long);
  • a ReconciliACTION panel discussion transmitted virtually from the WLL; and
  • the illumination of campus buildings in orange lights in support of Orange Shirt Day.

Faculties and Support Units NDTR Events

With a goal to growing the competency levels required for furthering the work of Truth and Reconciliation, all faculties and support units at Western are invited to provide engaging and discipline-specific activities for their faculty, staff, and students, with guidance provided by OII. IMPORTANT NOTE: As was the case last year, these events can be scheduled at any time during the month of September.

We have developed a new NDTR 2023  specific resource to provide relevant context and supportive information to assist you with this work.

Additional actions in support of NDTR include:  

  • Amplifying NDTR messaging on social media from OII and Western Communications; 
  • Hosting discipline-specific Indigenous film screenings or author/book-profiling events; 
  • Inviting Indigenous speaker(s) to classes, departments, or offices to share their perspectives and stories; 
  • Sponsoring exhibits on Indigenous histories, cultures, foods, traditions, leadership, art;  
  • Supporting students with meaningful classroom opportunities to engage with the work of Truth and Reconciliation; and 
  • Promoting  Orange Shirt Day  for the week of September 25 (orange shirts and related paraphernalia will be available for sale on campus)
  • Inviting staff and/or faculty to complete the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Module available on the Wampum Learning Lodge website.

Please find below additional guidance documents to inform and support campus and allied initiatives:

Actions for Faculties and Operations & Support Units

The following outlines a list of actions for each Faculty and Operations & Support Unit at Western:
  • Share and review this information with each your respective leadership teams
  • Provide relevant and, where possible, discipline-specific activities that will benefit your own students, staff, and faculty through use of your own existing resources and budgets
  • Share details about your NDTR event(s) by completing this template on or before September 11; we will post it on this page for everyone’s benefit.  


Please direct any questions to  indigenousinitiatives@uwo.ca

Schedule of September events

September 13

September 13
Time Event Location
10:00 a.m.

Mini Exhibit

In anticipation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at the end of September, and Treaties Recognition Week in November, a wall in the Wampum Learning Lodge will be covered in a similar fashion to the installation at Forest City Gallery.   

Visitors to the Lodge will be encouraged to reflect on some key questions and share their thoughts.

Wampum Learning Lodge

September 14

September 14
Time Event Location
7:00 p.m. –
9:00 p.m.

Forest City Gallery: Towards Braiding

September 14 - October 13, 2023

A workshop and conversation series organized by Sara Mai Chitty with community guests and consultants.

An interactive exhibit and conversation series inviting Londoners to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as Treaty People, and collectively dream of anti-colonial futures, together using the text “Towards Braiding” as our guide. This exhibit serves as an entry point for anyone curious, or actively working towards decolonizing art, institutions, as well as arts and education, broadly. A highly participatory exhibit, visitors to the gallery are invited to reflect and contribute to the conversation on the literal walls of the gallery. As panels and workshops occur between September and October, the recordings will also be available in the gallery for visitors to engage with.

To learn more visit the Forest City Gallery, here

1025 Elias St, London, ON 

September 20

September 20
Time Event Location
10:00 a.m.

White Pine Planting

White Pine, the Great Tree of Peace, will be planted on Sept. 20, 2023 in the enduring spirit of Truth & Reconciliation.

The planting of this sacred Being honours the traditional teachings of the Haudenosaunee Nations about the critical importance of peace needed for progress. Peace comes through respect and honour when care is afforded to the work of truth and reconciliation. 

This pine will serve as a daily reminder about the importance of living respectfully with each other and with all of Creation. It also marks the commitment of everyone at Western University to do their part in support of healing and rebuilding.

Lambton Dr. London, ON 
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Panel:  Indigenous Art as Teacher

Moderator:  Sara Mai Chitty (Anishinaabe Educator)

Panelists: Jennifer Komor owski (Oneida, TMU), Summer Bressette (Anishinaabe, AEI) and Beth Hundey (Settler-Ally, Western Univesity)

The panelists are educators from a variety of disciplines and will be discussing how Indigenous arts are powerful pedagogical tools to connect students wholistically to perspectives on things such as culture, as well as colonization through Indigenous lenses. Participants will be encouraged to contribute what they have learned from the panel to the exhibit.

1025 Elias St, London, ON 

September 25

September 25
Time Event Location
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Flag Raising

September 30 marks the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada and the tenth annual Orange Shirt Day.

This is a time to honour and remember the children and survivors of Residential Schools in Canada. We begin with an opening from a respected Elder, followed by words from Western leadership. We have invited the  Spirit Singers to sing while we raise the flag to honour all the children that didn't come home, those that are still missing and those who survived.

Concrete Beach

September 26

September 26
Time Event Location
3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Workshop: Indigenous Perspectives in Media   

Movie Screening: Reel Injun
followed by conversation with Sally Kewayosh

Borrowing from Towards’ Braiding question: “What do you expect the Indigenous Perspective to do for you?” Sara Mai Chitty (Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Western University) and Sally Kewayosh (Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University) discuss how perspectives of Indigenous Peoples are shaped by the variety of settler and Eurowestern lenses that much of mainstream entertainment and news media are dominated by, and wise practices for engaging with Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives and stories. Participants will be encouraged to contribute what they have learned from the panel to the exhibit.

Moderator:  Sara Mai Chitty (Anishinaabe Educator) and  Ruth Skinner (Forest City Gallery Director)

1025 Elias St, London, ON

September 28

September 28
Time Event Location
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

RIVERFEST 23,  Water Walk

Join the Indigenous Students' Association, Indigenous Student Centre, and Western Sustainability for an Anishinaabe Water Walk.

The event will begin with a water ceremony and talk by Dr. Carol Hopkins, Water Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, and her mother Irene Peters, Grandmother in the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, who will share about the origins of Water Walks and the healing nature of them. Water is life, and in this event participants will be encouraged to reconnect with their own personal connection to Deshkan Ziibi as we walk along the river in ceremony.

We will meet in the Wampum Learning Lodge Dome. After the opening, we will walk along the river as a group, led by the Indigenous Students' Association, and our route will bring us back to the Wampum Learning Lodge.

Registration is encouraged. Drop-ins are welcome, but please try to register in advance so we can prepare space/snacks. This event is open to all members of the campus community, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, faculty, staff, and students. We hope to see you there.

Wampum Learning Lodge
Room: WLL Dome
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

A day of commemoration and reflection in honour of the National Day For Truth and Reconciliation

Join us for a live reading of the 94 TRC Calls to Action and discussion of our paths forward towards reconciliation. All are welcome!

266 Epworth Ave, outside of the library
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

N'Satung film screening

The School for Advanced Studies in Arts & Humanities will host a screening of the documentary film N'Satung, directed by A & H alumnus Ogiima Keesis G'Nadjiwon. The documentary film N’Satung is a collaboration, underwritten by the Office Indigenous Initiatives, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the School for Advanced Studies (SASAH). Members of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded Nation and Indigenous Nations in the London area discuss their experiences in and hopes for the education system in Ontario.

View the N'Satung trailer here

University College 1401

September 29

September 29
Time Event Location
7:00 a.m. Opening Ceremony and sacred fire Arbour at Wampum Learning Lodge
10:30 a.m.

Indigenous Craftivism

Indigenous crafting event with Dr. Renee Bedard. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate on a craft project focused on reconciliation.

Lawson Hall, Rm: 3252

Western University, Oxford Dr, London

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

NDTR ReconciliACTION Panel and Q&A

Beyond NDTR

Join us for a powerful conversation on what it means to truly reconcile, build good relations, and make space for collective healing, reclamation and reparations. This session will have interactive elements.

Host:  Tammy Johnson (Librarian, Educator and Helper)

Guest Speakers:  Chief Joel Aram (Grand Chief, AIAI),  Jody Noah (Post-Secondary Department Manager, SFNS),  Alizabeth George-Antone (Indigenous Community Liaison Advisor, City of London), and  Joe Antone, MSW RSW (Director of Indigenous Health, Ontario Health West)

To learn more visit Beyond NDTR: ReconciliACTion here; or visit Atlohsa Family Healing Services  here

Wampum Learning Lodge or  Virtual

Please register, here


11:30 a.m.

Quinn Smallboy: String Theory - University College Unveiling

Celebrating the installation of two recent pieces by local artist Quinn Smallboy that were acquired by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in 2023, to honour and observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Quinn Smallboy is originally from Moose Factory, Ontario, and is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation. He holds an MFA ('18) in Visual Arts from Western University and lives in London. As an artist, his aim is to draw attention to the struggles surrounding Indigenous culture and art.

University College, Atrium (second floor, south side of building)
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Nature of Healing
Film Screening and Q&A with Survivors of Mohawk Institute

The Western University deans invite you to join us for an afternoon of reflection, learning, and conversation in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Faculty of Education is hosting a screening of the documentary film The Nature of Healing, and facilitated Q&A session with film maker, Faith Howe, and three survivors of the Mohawk Institute: Grandmother Roberta Hill, Elder John Elliot, and Elder Bud Whiteye.

Following the screening and Q&A, attendees will move to Wampum Learning Lodge for a reception with Indigenous-inspired hors d'oeuvres catered by Teykonyote Antone.


12:00 p.m. - Doors Open
12:30 p.m. - Opening Ceremony and Smudging
1:00 p.m. - Film Screening
2:30 p.m. - Q&A
3:30 p.m. - Closing Ceremony
4:00 p.m. - Reception at Wampum Learning Lodge (next to Faculty of Education Building)

If you would like to attend this event,  please register online as space is limited.

In the spirit of the making of this film,  a contribution of $10 per attendee is strongly suggested . Proceeds from the event will be donated to directly support the completion of the  Mohawk Village Memorial Park. Located on the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute at 184 Mohawk St. in Brantford, Ont., the upcoming 5-acre memorial park will consist of memorials, walking paths and decorative landscaping, as well as a variety of accessible park features.

A link to the contribution form will be provided following registration. You can also access the contribution form here:  Faculty of Education - Contribution to Nature of Healing Event (uwo.ca).

Faculty of Education Auditorium
12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.

Concert Series  presents:  Inuk musician  Nelson Tagoona

The Fridays @ 12:30 p.m. Concert Series presents Inuk musician  Nelson Tagoona as he artfully combines  katajjaq (Inuit throat singing) with beatboxing to form a genre called throat boxing as we commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This event is also available via livestream. 

For more "Fridays" events visit:

  • All are welcome to attend. No advance registration or tickets required. Simply attend and enjoy! 
  • End times are approximate.
  • Download digital event programs on the  concert programs page  up to one week in advance, or on your smartphone when you arrive. Printed copies are not provided. 
  • Attending an event in person? Changes happen! Check this calendar listing before you leave home and check our  Audience Information webpage for always-up-to-date general information, including health and safety protocols.
Sign up for the Don Wright Faculty of Music's  monthly email to be notified of all planned events and for notifications of schedule changes
Music Building (MB)
Room: von Kuster Hall
1:30 p.m.

Screening of Wildhood

Free screening of Bretten Hannam's Wildhood (2022).

"A rebellious two-spirit teenager runs away from home to find his birth mother, and reclaim his Mi’kmaw heritage."

Lawson Hall, Rm: 3270B

Western University, Oxford Dr, London

1:30 p.m.

Returning to Ourselves: Activating Indigenous Beats

Speaker: Dr. Juan Guillermo Sanchez (Lakehead University)

As part of the Activating Indigenous Beats: Hip Hop Nativo Festival  (2023), a cross cultural mural was envisioned by the organizers Correne Anderson and Juan G. Sanchez Martinez. The mural can be understood as a non-alphabetic pedagogical tool, to spark dialogues on identity, belonging, Native Science, and Indigenous epistemologies and sovereignty. This talk will reflect on the importance of trans-Indigenous dialogues between the North and the South of Abiayala (the Americas).  Speaker: Dr. Juan Guillermo Sánchez Martínez (Associate Professor, Department of Indigenous Learning, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada). 

University College, Room 2105


September 30

September 30
Time Event Location
6:00 a.m. 

Sunrise Ceremony


Mount Elgin Industrial School Monument, Chippewa Of The Thames First Nation

N'Amerind Friendship Centre,
260 Colborne St, London

11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Annual Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation Arts and Food Festival

With truth comes reconciliation. Help make change this Truth and Reconciliation weekend. Support this truly authentic Indigenous festival.

11:00 a.m.  9:00 p.m.

Gates Open

Craft and Food Vendors are open!

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Opening Ceremony

Opening remarks, prayer, and song.
12:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m. Brothers Wilde Musical Performance
2:00 p.m.  – 3:00 p.m. Adventures of Jay and Gizmo Indigenous Book Signing

3:00 p.m.  –  4:00 p.m.

Fancy Dance Spectacular

Enjoy this amazing Fancy Dance Spectacular featuring David White.

4:00 p.m.  – 5:00 p.m.

Hoop Dance Showcase

Witness this beautiful element with River Christie-White as he honors our past with this Hoop Dance Showcase.

5:00 p.m.  – 6:00 p.m.

Che Jim 'Meet and Greet'

Enjoy the comical presence with TikTok and Internet sensation Che Jim as he entertains our guests' for this special event.

7:00 p.m.  – 9:00 p.m.

 Genevieve Fisher Musical Performance


84 Chippewa Road Muncey, ON


3rd Annual Nibi Walk & Youth Relay

With special addresses from:

Mary Anne LaForme (IRS Survivor), Brian Hill (N'Amerind Board President), and  Josh Morgan (City of London Mayor)

MC: Lela George


This is a call out to CMO & the London Community for Jingle Dress Dancers and Youth Runners

Youth wishing to participate in the relay please contact:

  • COTTFN: Ashley Riley: 226-376-4881
  • Oneida: Gina Doxtator: 519-520-1903
  • Munsee-Delaware: Candice Snake: 226-377-4870
  • City of London: Kym Burke 519-672-0131

Youth needing volunteer hours for school can contact nibiwaterwalk@gmail.com to register

Please help make this an Earth-friendly gathering - Bring your own feast kit and refillable water bottle - City of London Thirstation on site!

Oneida of the Thames

Nshwaasnangong Child Care & Family Centre,  449 Hill St, London

N'Amerind Friendship Centre,  260 Colborne St, London


10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Artist Market

For more information visit;  www.cottfn.com or call, 519-264-2500

Western Fair District Agriplex

845 Florence St, London, ON

12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

“Wear Orange, Speak Truth”

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honour those who survived
residential schools and to remember those who did not. Join us at the Western Fair District Agriplex for a gathering in unity and reflection.

Atlohsa Family Healing Services in partnership with Chippewa Nation

Western Fair District Agriplex

845 Florence St, London, ON

6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Gawii Wiikaa Ga-Nendmisii,  Never Ever Forget Me

Benefit Concert
(Northern Cree, Digging Roots, DJ Shub)

Tickets $30

For more information visit;  www.cottfn.com or call, 519-264-2500

Western Fair District Agriplex

845 Florence St, London, ON

October 2

October 2
Time Event Location
1:30 p.m.

Shayla Stonechild

Opening with meditation & visualization, Shayla will discuss her journey of advocacy, wellbeing and creation of the "Matriarch Movement".

Wampum Learning Lodge
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Leading Institutional-Indigenization in a Reconcilation Era with Dr. Candace Brunette-Debassige

Indigenous leadership roles in Canadian universities are increasingly held by Indigenous women who, despite their increasing numbers, often find themselves working in tricky academic administrative contexts. This talk will explore some of the deeper and ongoing structural and ideological challenges that limit institutional-Indigenization work in Canadian universities with a particular focus on the lived experiences of Indigenous women administrators striving to advance institutional change.

Wampum Learning Lodge

October 3

October 3
Time Event Location
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The True Cost of Coal: mountaintop removal and the fight for our future

With huge portable murals of collabratively-produced illustrations and en engaging narrative.

The bees will take you on an interactive visual tour of the connections between mountaintop removal, and the struggle for justice in appalachia and throughout the world.

Workshop: 12:30 p.m.

Mesoamérica Resiste: a graphics campaign about grassroots resistance to corprate globalization

Join the Bees for an interactive storytelling of this collaboratively produced, epic educational illustration.

All told with vividly detailed cartoons of plants and animals! With an egaging narrative that links social movements to evironmental struggles and connects cultural and ecological diversity.

Workshop: 1:30 p.m.

For more details visit,  beehivecollective.org

Weldon Learning Commons

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

Indigenizing Spaces Panel  

Indigenizing spaces can take on many forms, whether it is art, community relations or naturalizing green spaces. Join our esteemed panelists in conversation on what it means to integrate Indigenous culture into spaces. 

Host:  Sheri Nault (Metis artist,  Assistant Professor - Studio Arts, Western University)

Guests:  Mike Cywink (Anishinaabe artist), Paula Hedgepeth (Office of Indigenous Initiatives), and Laura Ramirez (Office of Indigenous Initiatives)

1025 Elias St, London, ON 

October 5

October 5
Time Event Location
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The Sacredness of Woman in Honour of MMIWG Awareness with Liz Akiwenzie

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Day of Action guest speaker Cultural Knowledge Keeper Liz Akiwenzie. Teachings about Women and the sacredness they hold.


Huron Great Hall

1349 Western Rd, London, ON

7:00 p.m.

ArtNOW Talk:  Leith Mahkewa

A Beader's Perspective

Leith Mahkewa is a beadwork artist from the Oneida Nation of the Thames in Ontario. She has been living in the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Territory of Kahnawake (Quebec) for 38 years. Her beadwork artistry has its foundation in mentorship, friendship and family. She will speak about how those elements influenced and fostered what is her beadwork style and how she sees her role as the Indigenous Artist in Residence her at Western.

(519) 661-2111 x85855

ArtLAB Gallery

John Labatt Visual Arts Centre
Western University