June 1, 2022Print | PDF
Dear Laurier community,
June marks Indigenous History Month, a time for us all to reflect on and learn more about the culture and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis from across Turtle Island. We are grateful to the many Indigenous scholars at Laurier for their work and as a university celebrate and recognize the many ways of Indigenous knowing and the value this knowledge brings to the academic environment.
For many centuries, continuing through to the present, colonial practices and social policies have sought to erase Indigenous history and knowledge. Legislation such as the Indian Act and the residential school system caused trauma and harm to Indigenous peoples and were created to intentionally dismantle cultures, familial ties, histories, and knowledge systems.
In the last few years, this nation we call Canada has begun a journey of truth to understand these legacies of harm. A key step in the path to truth and reconciliation is education. Indigenous History Month is an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their histories, language and knowledge, and for non-Indigenous people to commit to learning more about these histories as well as the many contributions Indigenous peoples make across Turtle Island today.
As an institution of learning and research, we have begun the work to Indigenize our university. This includes incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing into all areas of study at the university, proactively hiring more Indigenous scholars as part of our Inclusive Excellence Initiative, and working to support the educational aspirations of Indigenous students. Many of Laurier’s staff and faculty have committed to learning through the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation training program. As we learn together to develop a new balance between Indigenous and Western ways of knowing, we will develop an environment that is fulfilling, safe and equitable for all learners.
It will take significant work and effort to undo the legacy of harm and destruction of Indigenous history caused by colonialism. The Great Law of the Haudenosaunee holds that the actions and decisions we make today should result in a better world for seven generations into the future. During Indigenous History Month, we encourage you to commit to learning more and finding ways that you can move forward on the path of peace and reconciliation, for today, but also for the generations who will come after us.
In peace and friendship,
Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Initiatives
President and Vice-Chancellor
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