UBC Cancel the Honorary Degree given to Kamloops Indian Residential School principal 1986

UBC Cancel the Honorary Degree given to Kamloops Indian Residential School principal 1986

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Tania Willard started this petition to Santa J. Ono (President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia) and

In 1986 The University of British Columbia conferred an honorary degree  to John O’Grady, former principal of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.Then UBC president David Strangway at a convocation ceremony in May 1986,  hailed O'Grady for making education more accessible to local communities in the Interior and bringing "native and white communities closer together." O’Grady died in 1998.

UBC spokesperson was quoted in news saying,"We have made mistakes, and we cannot presume that we will not make more mistakes in the future,"

We ask that UBC acknowledge that the residential school system and it's protection was not a mistake and the conferral of this degree reflects systemic racism and policies against Indigenous peoples within UBC and the broader Canadian society and government.

"Our commitment is to learn from our mistakes and, together, to continue to move forward in partnership with Indigenous peoples. Our commitment, as a university, and as a community of many members, must be strong, and must always result in meaningful action. This is our realization and it is our duty to act."

UBC has issued statements reported in the media they will review the conferral of this degree, "A spokesman says a review by UBC’s senate has been expedited and the process will include consultation with Indigenous communities and academic experts."

We ask that UBC cancel the conferral of this degree to acknowledge the trauma and effects of the Kamloops Indian Residential School System and the residential school system broadly. This honorary degree goes against the University's commitments to the Truth and Reconciliation process, their own Indigenous initiatives and research and it is the time to make this right. Remove this honorary degree, "it is our duty to act'.

We ask that in respect and redress of the discovery of the Residential School unmarked graveyard and the remains of 215 children found at T'kemlups in the Secwepemc Nation that O'Grady's honorary degree from UBC be revoked.

 

Artwork above by Tania Willard (Secwepemc and dsettler heritage and UBC Okanagan Assistant Professor)

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At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!