Resources, supports and information regarding Okanagan College’s commitment to reconciliation, and working with and learning from Indigenous communities

Okanagan College respectfully acknowledges that our Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon campuses are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan People, our Salmon Arm campus is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepemc, and our Revelstoke centre is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Syilx Okanagan Peoples.

Our deepest sympathies go out to all those impacted by the legacy of residential schools

On behalf of Okanagan College and the Board of Governors, we extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to all of the survivors, families and Indigenous communities across the region, the province and the country who are mourning and experiencing the compounded sorrow, anger, grief and so many other painful emotions stirred by the confirmation of the remains of children buried in unmarked graves on the sites former Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Please know that the people of Okanagan College grieve with you, hold you in our thoughts, and stand with you and now in the future. As we take time to think and reflect, to listen and learn, the OC community invites everyone to also join us in taking action on the path toward reconciliation. Join us in reading and making a personal commitment to acting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action through the I Pledge Campaign.

Okanagan College’s commitment

Okanagan College recognizes that as an institution, we are part of the educational and social fabric of the region, and that we have both the opportunity and responsibility to support and empower OC learners and employees to be positive agents of dialogue, knowledge sharing and change. 

Our mission is to transform lives and communities. It is the people of Okanagan College who bring this mission to life, and who have the ability and the agency to do so for the betterment of our world. We recognize that this mission cannot be fully achieved without strong commitment to – and action toward – reconciliation.

Okanagan College is committed to full engagement in the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. OC strives to be a place where all students, staff, faculty and visitors can learn from the deep knowledge and traditions of Indigenous communities and from the effects of colonialism. And from this knowledge, contribute ideas and perspectives to guide our collective effort and action to decolonize our society and work toward reconciliation.

We recognize that communication, knowledge, understanding, awareness and action all play a role in reconciliation and lead us to a more inclusive, equitable and just society. We also recognize that the ongoing systemic racism experienced by Indigenous people of Canada continues in innumerable ways. 

As many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across the country and the world have pointed out, the Residential School System in Canada is not history. It is not a relic of the past. The legacy of the system continues in the lived experience of pain and suffering still felt, and that will be felt, by the survivors, their families and all those impacted by it, for generations into the future. We acknowledge the trauma that exists and persists, and commit to listening, learning and acting in ways that support Indigenous members of our community in the process of healing. 

If you need support

  • OC students in need of support are encouraged to reach out to Counselling Services or Aboriginal Services.
  • OC employees can access support through OC’s Employee and Family Assistance program.
  • A national crisis line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
  • Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717. Alternatively, you can call directly into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050, or online:
  • The First Nations Health Authority also has a Mental Health Benefit.
  • The Métis Nation BC offers Mental Health Services.

“I Pledge” at OC

Join us in engaging the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
Handprint with the words "I pledge" over an orange background

Okanagan College recognizes that each community member has a vital role to play in reconciliation. Join us in reading and acting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. As individuals and as part of the OC community, we can each find meaningful opportunities to reflect on the legacy of residential schools, engage in acts of reconciliation to redress that legacy and advance the process of reconciliation in Canada.

A small action could lead to big changes. Pledge your commitment to reconciliation by signing your name below – if you’d like, comment on the acts of reconciliation with which you are endeavoring to move forward in your work, family or community.

Please note: OC’s core values include diversity, inclusivity, collegiality and collaboration. Pledge submissions will be moderated to uphold these values.

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"I pledge" at OC

Raina Haffey
September 18, 2021
Melanie Simpson
September 10, 2021
Steve Robinson
September 9, 2021

Full disclosure for true healing

September 7, 2021
Vicki Unrau
September 7, 2021
Haleigh Parker
September 7, 2021
Hannah Capek
September 7, 2021
Erin loucks
September 7, 2021
Ewan Runciman
September 7, 2021
Abby Stammen
September 7, 2021

Resources and information – how you can engage

In the days, weeks and months to come, Okanagan College will be listening, learning and looking for ways to engage our community in discussion that will guide our future actions.  

We recognize that Okanagan College students and employees will of course be at different points in their journey toward awareness, engagement and action on the path toward reconciliation. As a first step, all members of the OC community are encouraged to continue to explore and deepen your knowledge of the truths of our history, Indigenous ways of knowing, and how to actively engage in reconciliation. We know many non-Indigenous members of our community are searching for resources, education and appropriate ways in which they can be allies.

Some resources to consider include:

Recommended reading:

Follow Aboriginal Services on Facebook and Instagram.

Four Seasons of Reconciliation – this course will be offered again soon for OC employees; all employees will be notified when it is available.