The initiative stems from the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation that is held on Sept 30th each year, which is also Orange Shirt Day, where people wear orange to always remember the children, families, and communities harmed by residential schools.
“I was walking through a tobacco garden with Stephanie Frost and Stryker Calvez this past summer and they told me about the concept of Orange You Ready? and asked if I thought we could try it in Kinesiology,” said kinesiology associate professor, Alison Oates. “I agreed and with the support of our dean, we gathered a group of people to start organizing which included students, Kate Korchinski and Adam Luchkanych, Dr. Joel Lanovaz, and Rose Roberts. Together we figured out details, dates, and how to move forward.”
Participants in Orange You Ready? work as a community within the College of Kinesiology, as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together, to learn about the healing road of (re)conciliation and what that means to them, to the people around them, and to all treaty people linked to these lands. Alternating between learning and action, participants take small but meaningful steps toward building an understanding that supports an inclusive future for all in response to TRC Call to action #10 iii.
With the guidance from Calvez, the organizing committee learned to follow the medicine wheel and design challenges around Emotional, Mental, Physical, and Spiritual health, as well as reciprocity that would be meaningful for the College of Kinesiology.
Students, faculty, senior leaders, and staff within the College of Kinesiology were assigned to two teams; Team ReKINciliation and Team ReKINize the Calls.
Graduate student Matthew Chapelski is a co-captain of Team ReKINciliation and credited this program to challenging him to apply his understanding of reconciliation to creative challenges.
“I decided to get involved in Orange You Ready? since we would be collaborating in a team to overcome fun reconciliation challenges,” said Chapelski. “I also felt this would be a great way to discuss, listen, and progress in my reconciliation journey with other people.”
In the College of Kinesiology and the spirit of sport, competition is not something that people shy away from which led to the need of dedicated officials. The Orange You Ready? officials are Indigenous people with connections to the college who have been approached following protocol.
The teams put in their best effort to respond to the challenges, then receive feedback from the officials, and keep going back and forth with the next challenge in a supported structure that helps to create a safe place to learn and grow.
“An example of this was that each team created educational activities that could be used in future Kinesiology courses that support reconciliation. Officials then asked the teams to think about inviting an Elder to speak with the class as compared to merely searching up a video,” explained, co-creator, online support coordinator, and committee member, Stephanie Frost.
The teams will continue to compete, learn, and grow on their journey to reconciliation until early April. At that time, a champion will be named in good fun.
The Orange You Ready? program plans to continue to grow across campus next year in hopes that other colleges and units will join in and compete against one another, with the growth of reconciliation at the forefront of each competition.
“I would highly recommend getting involved with this program in the future. It is the organization committees' goal to have this be a campus-wide spectacle and have all students, staff, and faculty on-campus involved in one way or another,” said graduate student, Adam Luchkanych.