I was in beautiful Yukon last summer for a national Truth and Reconciliation conference organized by Universities Canada, Colleges and Institutes Canada, and the McConnell Foundation. It was an extraordinary experience!
It has already been four years since the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At the conference, there was valid concern that momentum could be lost at a time when positive change is just starting to emerge.
The 31 pairs of presidents and Indigenous leaders (it was great to travel with Benny Michaud!) committed to keeping Truth and Reconciliation at the top of the institutional agenda and to further intensifying our efforts.
The conference was timely for our institution as the Carleton University Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee (CUISIC), co-chaired by Kahente Horn-Miller, Benny Michaud and Jerry Tomberlin, was hard at work on developing its own recommendations.
Last week, CUISIC publicly posted a draft of the 41 calls to action that will form the core of their final report. The calls to action cover seven overarching themes: Community Engagement; Indigenous Student Support; Student Experience; Ways of Teaching and Learning; Culture, Systems and Structure; Research and Innovation; and Metrics.
There is still time to provide feedback on these important calls to action in anticipation of the document being finalized and received by the Senate and the Board before the new year.
It’s been a long journey, with more than 40 consultation sessions on and off campus, all the way to Iqaluit. I want to extend my sincere thanks to all members of CUISIC, and to everyone who took part in this important process.
I am confident that the calls to action present a clear, actionable roadmap towards responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, and towards revitalizing our Indigenous initiatives and relationships with Indigenous Peoples on campus and in the broader community.
We are, of course, fully committed to implementing these recommendations. The key will be to sustain our efforts over time and not to lose momentum. Indeed, some calls to action can be implemented quickly, but others will take more time.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this important initiative. I look forward to celebrating the final report and working towards lasting positive change. This is critically important for Carleton and for Canada. Please share your feedback. Your opinion matters.