Orange Shirt Day March Today at UBC

March begins at Formline's Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

The University of British Columbia is hosting a march today beginning outside the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. The event is part of UBC’s commemoration of Orange Shirt Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

The choice of IRSHDC building as the starting point reflects the dignity and knowledge that the building has brought to the community. The day and the event are especially resonant for the building’s architect, Alfred Waugh, principal of Formline Architecture.“This building is embedded with symbolism and was created from the input from survivors from the Musqueam nation and my passion to serve Indigenous people in the journey of reconciliation and reestablishment of pride in our people,” observed Waugh in an email to Canadian Architect on the eve of the march. “It stands proud in its setting at the heart of knowledge between two libraries at UBC, as a permanent reminder of us Indigenous people and what we have gone through, and to shine a light to the future regaining our pride and identity.”

Architect Alfred Waugh , Founder of Formline Architecture in Vancouver. Photo credit: Carl Kwan

Waugh is one of Maclean’s 2021 Power List of 50 Canadians breaking ground, leading debate ,and shaping how we think and live. The intention, challenge and purpose of Waugh’s design is “honouring the survivors and the generations of families affected by this traumatic part of Canadian history”—including his own mother, he noted. “I wish my mother was here today to see what I have done to honour her and all the survivors of residential school.”

Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre with UBC libraries and clocktower in the distance. Photo credit: Andrew Latreille

Organized jointly by the faculties of Applied Science, Science, Land and Food Systems, and Forestry, the event aims to be educational, community building, and supportive of the Indigenous community on campus. The formal programming begins outside the Dialogue Centre at noon.  with remarks and a territorial welcome from a Musqueam representative. The march then begins from the Dialogue Centre down UBC’s Main Mall, with informational signage along the way. There will also be a station with Indigenous language activities for children. At the end of Main Mall, marchers will arrive at the Reconciliation Pole, where they will hear from an Indian Residential School survivor. Additional remarks will be offered by Land and Food Systems Dean Rickey Yada, and from civil engineering professor Sheryl Staub-Frenchl, who is Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in UBC’s Applied Science faculty.

Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. Photo credit: Andrew Latreille.

The march will conclude at UBC’s Kaiser Building, where participants can leave messages of support and solidarity.