Veteran CBC broadcaster Shelagh Rogers speaks at University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford next week on being a witness to truth and reconciliation.
Rogers’ presentation on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. in the student union building at UFV (33844 King Rd.). Admission is free, and the public is welcome.
Like many Canadians, Rogers lived much of her life largely unaware of the Indian residential school system and the suffering of those subjected to it.
While hosting a CBC series called Our Home and Native Land, Rogers interviewed people from several generations of an Indigenous family from Nanaimo, and subsequently befriended them.
Through getting to know them, the residential school experience and legacy all became very real to her.
In 2011, Rogers was invited to become an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
During her speech at UFV, she will speak about what she learned from her role in that process.
Her presentation is part of the President’s Leadership Lecture Series at UFV and is tied into the Witness Blanket exhibit on display at UFV this fall.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was organized by the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
It had a mandate of learning the truth and informing all Canadians about what happened in residential schools, including neglect and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
Witnesses were appointed to help share the information, and support the testimony of survivors and to stand for truth.
Rogers said she is looking forward to sharing with the UFV community what she has learned.
Also as part of the President’s Leadership Lecture Series, cultural presenter Cecelia Reekie, a member of the Haisla Nation, will speak on Oct. 11, followed by Chief Robert Joseph, hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation and an ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, on Oct. 25.
Rogers is currently host and a producer for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio. In 2011, she became an Officer of the Order of Canada for her work in mental health, adult literacy and reconciliation. She is the 11th chancellor of the University of Victoria.
The Witness Blanket, created by master carver and Kwagiulth artist Carey Newman (Ha-yalth-kingeme), is on display at UFV until Nov 8.
The Witness Blanket installation incorporates images from the residential school era, as well as items reclaimed from, and actual pieces of, residential schools, churches, government buildings, and traditional structures across Canada.