OTTAWA – On National Aboriginal Day, a new survey of Canada’s universities shows the breadth of initiatives being undertaken to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, both on and off-campus. Results of the recent Universities Canada survey of its 96 members show that well over two-thirds are working to include Indigenous representation within their governance or leadership structures to ensure Indigenous voices are included in decision-making in a meaningful way. As well, close to 80 per cent have undertaken important commemorative or symbolic gestures to acknowledge Indigenous peoples, Indian Residential schools or reconciliation.
“We know there is much more to be done,” says Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “But we are encouraged by the increasing priority universities are placing on reconciliation through education, and how these efforts are touching all aspects of higher education and research.”
The 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called for postsecondary institutions to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching practices into the academy. Canada’s universities are taking action to integrate these recommendations and implement Universities Canada’s 2015 Principles on Indigenous Education. Other survey findings include:
- Close to 80 per cent are conducting activities to promote intercultural engagement through cultural activities, events and forums, talking circles, competency or reconciliation training and more;
- Just under 70 per cent have or are developing strategic plans for advancing reconciliation;
- Two-thirds are working to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, methods and protocols into research practices and projects and the same number are striving to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms on campus.
Canada’s universities also host an annual Building Reconciliation Forum to bring a collective voice and action to the higher education sector’s efforts to advance reconciliation. Past forums were held at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta. The next forum will take place at the University of Manitoba, November 7 to 9, 2017.
Tagged: Indigenous education
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