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Truth and Reconciliation Day

Truth and reconciliation 

History of Truth and Reconciliation Day

Truth and Reconciliation Day was created as an annual commemoration to honour the children who died while attending residential schools and the survivors, families and communities experiencing the lasting impact of the residential school system. From approximately the 1880s until 1996, the Residential School System removed an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children from their families and communities as part of an official policy to eliminate Indigenous cultures. The creation of this day is Action 80 among the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

What is a Treaty Person

To be a Treaty Person emphasizes that all people have treaty rights and responsibilities. Treaties are intended to protect all people, regardless of Indigeneity. Being a better treaty person starts with learning, many of us do not know whose land we are on or what the treaty agreement is within our municipality. By learning about the treaties and upholding what they stand for, we can create new ways of doing things.

Student Perspectives:


Tansi kahkiýaw,

Nisiýihkâtisow (my name is) Cheyenne Greyeyes and I am a nehiyaw iskwew, a Cree woman from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. I am from Treaty 6 and I call amiskwaciywâskahikan (Edmonton) my home. I cannot speak for all Indigenous peoples, or even all Cree people – I can only speak for myself. Like many Indigenous peoples, my family has endured many hard years of colonization and assimilation- the effects of which are rippled throughout the generations. Regardless of what was lost, my family is still here, and we are beginning to heal the wounds of residential school, lost language, and having our culture made illegal. Some of us are dancing again, singing our cultural songs, and others are keeping our languages alive. These are the private processes of reclamation that are happening in Indigenous peoples lives all across Turtle Island. But what is often forgotten is that simply existing as an Indigenous person, is an act of defiance to all those who did not see us as people and wanted us erased. To me, Truth and Reconciliation is the acknowledgement that there were and still are systems in place that have actively tried to erase Indigenous people to benefit the expansion of colonization and Western philosophy. We must tell the awful truth about what really happened, and why it happened, and who commited it. For many years, we were told that nothing happened at those residential schools. And that there wasn’t an ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered women and girls. And that the children of the 60’s scoop weren’t forcibly taken. We now know that the Canadian government deliberately assimilated children and supported acts of cultural genocide, all while claiming these processes were to benefit Indigenous people. While I am grateful for the increased awareness for Indigenous history, Truth and Reconciliation as we know it today still feels new, all while Indigenous peoples have been dealing with the realities of cultural genocide long before it was acknowledged by the Canadian government and the Canadian people. 

Sometimes it can feel as though Truth and Reconciliation isn’t for me as a Cree woman, but instead is a podium for people to shout their condolences loudly one day a year. Truth and Reconciliation is much bigger than monetary retribution, much bigger than a political talking point. This is my history, this is my time to publicly practice my culture and language without fear of persecution. Truth and Reconciliation is too complex and ongoing for me to articulate my every feeling about the process but as a reader, please do not forget the individuals. Do not forget that we all have a story, that all Indigenous people are survivors in our own way and we are ready for our own Truths to be spoken loudly.

Hiy hiy

Cheyenne Greyeyes

Hello, my name is Celina Vipond (she/they) and I am a mixed Métis and third-generation settler based in Treaty 6 territory. For me, truth and reconciliation is so important. In the past year, I have learned that my grandparents attended residential school and can now see how much of the trauma my family has experienced can be connected to the abuse that my grandparents and their family suffered. This has directly affected me in the form of mental health concerns and an identity crisis. I only came to understand that I was Indigenous in my adulthood! My family was assimilated and retained no cultural knowledge or values. The last person who spoke our traditional language (Michif) was my great-grandmother. I mourn the loss of the knowledge of my ancestors and the loss of life of my Indigenous family from concerns directly linked to our shared historical trauma. To me, truth and reconciliation means that everyone within our system acknowledges their role in the cultural genocide of my people, and takes appropriate action to redress past harm and prevent future harm. Reconciliation means acknowledging our legitimacy as a nation with inherent rights to the land in what is now known as Canada, and acknowledging our role as the original stewards of the land with the responsibility to protect it for future generations. This means we are taken seriously in environmental and social concerns, and protecting the land that sustains us must come before corporate profit and extraction. Reconciliation means funding and supporting Indigenous-led solutions to protect and reestablish our culture, social structures, environment, and way of life, as these were deliberately disrupted by Canadian policy. This means making room at the table for Indigenous innovation and leadership and empowering us to make our own solutions. Reconciliation also means showcasing Indigenous joy, success, and creativity rather than pushing the narrative that our identities are our trauma. With this in mind, my vision of the future would see Indigenous nations having an equitable stake in nation-building here on Turtle Island and being seen as equals rather than independents to the state. 


SAMU is a member of a provincial advocacy organization, Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), and a federal advocacy organization, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), and alongside students from across the province and country, we advocate to government and policymakers on outcomes for students. Access and completion for Indigenous students is something we have focused on in our advocacy, and the specifics are as follows:

  • Federal:
    • 2022 CASA Recommends:
      • Establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation, and establish a national network to share information and best practices per Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 66.
    • CASA has also established NIAC. The National Indigenous Student Advisory Committee (NIAC) works to enhance CASA’s advocacy efforts by organizing campaigns across CASA’s member campuses, and developing lobbying tools and training to help empower members to meet with their local Members of Parliament.
  • Provincial:
    • 2022 CAUS Recommends:
      • To continue their commitment to the Indigenous people of this land, we ask that the Government of Alberta invest capital in recruiting Indigenous learners to post secondary education rurally, on reserves and in urban centres.  
      • We also ask that a portion of those funds be allocated to student associations so that there can be continuity across all post secondary institutions in terms of cultural & educational Indigenous centres.
    • 2021 CAUS Recommends:
      • The Government of Alberta dedicates funding to universities to support Indigenous students through Indigenous Centres that consists of culturally appropriate services, including but not limited to financial support, counselling, secure housing, health and mental health care, and academic support.


SAMU has compiled several resources which showcase ways in which we as settlers can be better treaty people:

For information about your coverage, opting out or back in, and FLEXing your plan, visit the mystudentplan website.

All part-time and full-time students paying Students’ Association fees have Health & Dental coverage under the SAMU Health & Dental plan provided by Gallivan: Student Health & Wellness, unless you have opted out. Not sure if you’re eligible?

The cost for health and dental insurance is $278.40 per year.This annual fee is split into two equal payments of $139.20 for your convenience. The cost is included in your tuition.

Students now have access to a variety of digital options for accessing doctors.

Still Unclear? 

Let’s be honest, insurance can be daunting. If you’re having trouble understanding the SAMU Health & Dental plan you can read more about it at or check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Still not getting your answer?

Please contact: 
Linda Cuglietta,
Benefit Plan Coordinator
SAMU Building, SA-109A,

Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

To start your free mental health assessment visit the mywellness website.

Mywellness is included in your Health and Dental fees and is a mental health support that you can access throughout the year.

For more information on your legal coverage head to Your Toolbox on the mylegalplan website. 

Opt out dates: Aug. 3- Sept. 30, 2021

The cost for legal coverage is $21.41/per member/per year (tax included) for the 2021-2022 year. The cost is included in your tuition.

The price is subject to change for future years but will be reviewed and assessed each year by SAMU.


StressLess programming focuses on mental health resources, stress relief, and student wellness through a number of initiatives throughout both the fall and winter semesters, especially around mid-terms and finals.

In the past the StressLess Program has provided activities such as a free coffee station, free yoga, wellness dog visits, and snack bags.

For more information, please contact: 
Wellbeing Assistant,

Book a Goal Session!

Do you find it difficult to stay on track with your assignments? Struggling to hit your deadlines? Goal sessions can be a helpful way to motivate yourself to keep your nose to the grindstone, and get stuff done. Goal sessions are an optional service within Study Buddies.

What to expect with a Goal Session:

  1. Volunteer check-ins on your goal – beginning, middle and end of your session.
  2. Referrals and suggestions on studying if you get stuck.
  3. A cheerleader to help you focus on your goal!

We want your feedback

Let us know how Study Buddies is doing or if you have any suggestions for how we can improve the service.


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Jane Smith | Third Year, Political Science

Student Refugee Program

Each term, $2.50 of your student fees goes towards supporting SAMU’s Student Refugee Program (SRP). Working with World University Service of Canada (WUSC), SRP funds the tuition and housing of a refugee student for four years. With the help of a local committee group made up of students and staff, SAMU ensures all the sponsored student’s needs are met throughout their time at MacEwan.

Questions? Email

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Questions? Email