Keeping reconciliation at the forefront
September 12, 2019
“The road we travel is equal in importance to the destination we seek. There are no shortcuts. When it comes to truth and reconciliation we are forced to go the distance.”
These are the words of Senator Murray Sinclair, expressed during his 2009-2015 tenure as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. These words are also one of the first things people will see when they enter the Queen’s Faculty of Law building, thanks to Law’18.
For their graduating class gift to the school, Law’18 classmates funded the design, production, and installation of the quote in silver lettering on the east wall of the building’s front entrance.
“Exhibiting the words of Justice Murray Sinclair in the atrium will provide a daily reminder to law students that the journey of reconciliation is far from over, and that they have an important role to play in maintaining its momentum,” says Katrina Crocker, Law’18 Class President. “Additionally, the plaque – located inside a building branded with the name of Canada's first prime minister – will help to achieve a greater balance in that relationship.”
Crocker and the other seven Law’18 council members had put out an open call for classmates to submit ideas for a gift that would allow their graduating class to leave behind something meaningful to the Queen’s Law community.
“After reviewing a handful of proposals, the eight student council members selected the Sinclair quote submission in the interest of advancing reconciliation with Indigenous populations and generating a deeper awareness of the harms for which we are brought to reconcile,” Crocker says. “This short but powerful quote will speak to everyone who reads it and it honours Murray Sinclair’s work with the truth and reconciliation process.”
Sinclair, who served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years, was the first Indigenous judge appointed in that province and the second in Canada. He was appointed to the Senate in 2016.
Law’18 raised a total of $6,900, mainly through social events over their three years in law school. They anticipate they’ll be contributing leftover funds from their class gift campaign to another important cause, the Law ThankQ Fund Bursary.
This latest piece adds to the reconciliation efforts at the Faculty of Law.
On Sept. 28, 2018, a permanent art installation in the Gowling WLG Atrium, paying tribute to Indigenous Peoples.
The piece – Words That Are Lasting – was created by Hannah Claus, a visual artist of English and Kanien'kehÁ:ka / Mohawk ancestries and a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, and features the recreations of seven wampum belts suspended from the Gowling WLG Atrium ceiling.