Every day of the 2023 Building Reconciliation Forum began with a sunrise ceremony, where ceremonial items were passed from former host institutions to Western University. This passage symbolizes the continuation of the work to advance truth and reconciliation from one institution to the next as they host the Building Reconciliation Forum and gives institutions strength to do this work in a good way.
The 2023 forum was the first held in person since the pandemic and took place at Western University in London, Ont. Dr. Christy Bressette, vice-provost and associate vice-president, Indigenous initiatives, shared reflections on hosting this year’s forum:
“Western is proud to have been chosen as host of this year’s Building Reconciliation Forum. It comes at just the right time, as we hosted attendees in our beautiful Wampum Learning Lodge, a newly renovated building that was opened at the end of last year. As the Lodge is dedicated to Indigenous learning, teaching and ways of knowing, it is the perfect venue for the Forum. We also included visits to local Indigenous communities in the Forum schedule, highlighting the growing relationships between Western and Indigenous Peoples.”
This year’s theme was “Education for Reconciliation: Rebuilding Stronger and with Intentionality”. Indigenous students, leaders, community members, academics, and non-Indigenous allies came together over three days to share and learn about Indigenous Knowledges and education sovereignty, initiatives for Indigenization and decolonization, sustainable development, truth and reconciliation within the context of Canadian universities. Leading with their hearts, speakers welcomed participants into deep and difficult conversations that are critical to the moving this work forward.
The first Building Reconciliation Forum was hosted in 2015, in part as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Since, the forum has been hosted by different universities across the country to meaningfully engage with local communities and facilitate conversations about the work of advancing truth and reconciliation within Canadian universities.
The Building Reconciliation Forum serves as an important platform and tool for Canadian universities to come together with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to lead change on Indigenous education. Canadian universities understand their responsibilities and are committed to ongoing and further work to advance reconciliation.
Universities Canada is deeply appreciative of the work of Western University and the office of Indigenous initiatives for their leadership and work on this year’s Building Reconciliation Forum.
Tagged: Indigenous education
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Assistant Director, Communications