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Truth & Reconciliation

Learn about the university’s community consultation report, commitment to truth and reconciliation and progress on recommendations.

A close up of the ring and its perforations in the shape of animals


In May 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released the report  (PDF file) Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (external link) . The report outlines the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous children. The Commission’s report included  (PDF file) 94 Calls to Action (external link)  in order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation. Several of these Calls to Action were directly addressed to post-secondary educational institutions, asking them  to:

  • Develop Indigenous-focused programs in specific fields, including education, health care and law
  • Increase opportunities for intercultural competency training
  • Promote an awareness of Indigenous rights, histories and perspectives

Other Calls to Action were connected to education more generally.

In response to the Commission’s report, one of the first steps toward truth and reconciliation at TMU was to create space for TMU’s Indigenous community to participate in consultations and discussions about their lived experience. Indigenous students, faculty, staff as well as members of the general public and community groups were invited to participate in the community consultations.

Consultations were held in a variety of formats, including three panel discussions, eight talking circles and two meetings. These meetings were held between October 2015 and February 2017.

Elder Joanna Dallaire sitting with others around a table at TMU community consultations, the Eagle Staff stands nearby

TMU’s commitment to truth and reconciliation

On January 26, 2018, after almost two years of community consultations, TMU hosted a celebration to release the community consultation summary report: Truth and Reconciliation at TMU: Building a New Foundation for Generations to Come. The report outlines the challenges the university faces and identifies opportunities and suggestions for change.

At the celebration, TMU President Mohamed Lachemi spoke of TMU’s commitment to a campus environment that embraces and supports Indigenous learners, faculty and staff. He recognized the importance of ensuring Indigenous community members take a leading role in the advancement of Indigenous education at TMU. Michael Benarroch, former provost and vice-president, Academic, addressed some of the next steps for the university including the creation of a working group, co-chaired by the provost, the vice-president, Equity and Community Inclusion and Elder and senior advisor, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Joanne Okimawininew Dallaire.

Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Strategic Working Group

The TRC Strategic Working Group was established in early 2018 after the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Community Consultation Summary Report. As the university continues on its journey to truth and reconciliation with Indigenous students, faculty, staff and the broader community, the TRC Strategic Working Group meets regularly to establish priorities, report progress on recommendations and seek advice or support on proposed initiatives. 

Progress of recommendations 

Progress on truth and reconciliation at TMU is catalogued against the six themes in the community consultation report, and motivated by the university’s respect for Indigenous perspectives, and commitment to building relationships with Indigenous communities. 

Every university initiative is unique in terms of its timeline and implementation. Efforts to Indigenize and address the systemic barriers within our community are imperative — the road is long, and progress towards truth and reconciliation should be considered a daily practice, or journey, not a project with a beginning and an end.

Read the university’s summaries on progress below.

2023 update

Learn about the ongoing progress, share your initiatives and get involved.

2022 update

A summary of initiatives from the co-chairs of the Truth and Reconciliation Working Group.

2019 update

To mark the one-year anniversary of TMU’s response to the TRC, three leaders reflect on accomplishments and what’s ahead.

Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force

Research on the university’s former namesake, Egerton Ryerson’s, role in Ontario’s public education system began in 2010 by TMU’s Indigenous Education Council, and his harmful connection to the Indian Residential School System was later documented in the 2018 community consultation report. In order to seek an understanding of Egerton Ryerson’s life and legacy and the role of commemoration in our community, TMU President Lachemi struck the Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force in November 2020.  

TMU’s Next Chapter is a direct response to the  (PDF file) Standing Strong Task Force Report and Recommendations presented in August 2021. The report provides clear recommendations on how the university can move forward and write the next chapter in our history.  

Though the specific objectives of the working group and task force are distinct, together they promote the Indigenization of campus, define the university’s priorities, and support a path to truth and reconciliation.