Sept. 11, 2023
As we enter a new school year and approach a change of season, Okanagan College would like to take a moment to start the fall semester in a good way, wishing everyone all the best in their learning journey. As we gather and move forward in our daily lives, we join together to honour and respectfully acknowledge that OC’s Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon campuses are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan; the Salmon Arm campus is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepemc; and the Revelstoke Centre is located on unceded territories of the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Syilx Okanagan Peoples.
Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day and commemorates the legacy of the residential school system, honouring survivors, their families and the children who never came home.
“Throughout September, we invite the OC community to reflect and take time to learn about the history of the area in which you live, work and play,” says Neil Fassina, Okanagan College president. “As part of OC’s Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, there will be opportunities to gain knowledge, learn about local Indigenous cultures, and to participate in events and activities at each campus. These opportunities will deepen our individual and collective understanding, help us remember the importance of respect, and reciprocity, and invite us all to reflect on our responsibility to build an accessible, inclusive and safe place of learning.”
At Okanagan College, we strive to build positive relationships with each other and with the land. We can do this by sharing knowledge and teaching and learning from each other in respectful ways.
“We welcome OC students and employees to take in the beauty around them, as we are surrounded by land, water and animals that provide for us in so many ways,” says Rhea Dupuis, Director of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “We encourage you to take a breath and acknowledge the sacredness in the connection to the land and all living things around us. Our communities have gone through a lot in the past months, enduring losses due to wildfires and challenges related to the rockslide on Highway 97. Yet we are still here, life keeps on going, and we have rebirth as we forge ahead, pull together and show strength and survival.”
“Embrace diversity and learn from the past, live in the now, and let’s work together to have a successful learning journey,” adds Dupuis. “Life is precious and so are you. Remember to breathe, live life to the fullest, love yourself, love each other and be proud of who you are and where you come from. We are all on a learning journey!”
Throughout the month of September, and in particular on September 30, OC invites everyone to wear orange and to participate in activities in your community. To learn more about Okanagan College’s commitments to reconciliation and events happening at each of our campuses this month, please visit okanagan.bc.ca/reconciliation.