Oct. 12, 2022Print | PDF
With the guidance of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Wilfrid Laurier University has launched a new process to verify Indigenous identity to confirm eligibility for designated Indigenous staff, faculty and student opportunities at Laurier.
Developed in consultation with the Indigenous Education Council and Indigenous Faculty Council at Laurier, the new process will help mitigate Indigenous identity fraud and ensure opportunities designated for Indigenous peoples are awarded to the people for whom they are intended.
“This process respects the complexity of Indigenous identity and the diversity of criteria related to Indigenous identity across nations and communities in North America,” said Darren Thomas, associate vice-president, Indigenous Initiatives.
“This process is not driven by an individual’s claim to Indigeneity, but rather by an Indigenous community’s claim of an individual as well as that individual’s lived experience of Indigeneity,” he said.
Applicants to designated Indigenous opportunities — such as staff positions, faculty appointments, and student awards and bursaries — are now required to submit written documentation of Indigenous identity, or a self-declaration that includes specific information about their ongoing relationship to a legally recognized and inherent Indigenous community, Nation or people in North America.
“This process answers the call to action by Indigenous faculty and staff to put measures in place to ensure candidates applying to Indigenous-designated opportunities have legitimate connections to Indigenous communities in North America,” said Heidi Northwood, interim provost and vice-president: academic.
All incoming and current Indigenous faculty, staff and students have been informed of the change in the application process, and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives has been verifying Indigenous identity of new faculty hires since spring 2022. The office is in contact with Indigenous students to ensure they understand the new process for the 2022-2023 student awards cycle. This process is not retroactive; however, if an individual’s claim to Indigenous identity comes into question they may be required to submit documentation to verify Indigenous identity.