Kwey kakina (Hello Everyone in Màmìwininìmowin)

Wat’kanonwerahton tanon sewakwe:kon (Mohawk greetings of peace and good tiding)

On June 26, 2016, Carleton University’s Board of Governors approved a proposal to change the name of the School of Canadian Studies to the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies. While this name change is long overdue, it comes at an important moment in the history of both Canada and Carleton University.

Canada has moved towards understanding the conjoined histories of Indigenous peoples and Canadians as a complex, ambiguous, and often tragic and violent relationship which continues to impact every resident of the country. The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for reconciliation through an active process of decolonization. This is a shared undertaking in which Carleton and all other educational institutions will play a leading role.

Coinciding with the approval of the School’s Combined Honours degree in Indigenous Studies (to be launched in 2017), this name change recognizes the prominent place of Indigenous Studies in our academic mission and signals a collective commitment to this process of active decolonization. It also formalizes the fact that it is inappropriate to subsume the interdisciplinary study of Indigenous histories, cultures, experiences, and identities under the umbrella of Canadian Studies. This is one step in furthering Carleton’s commitment to Indigenizing the university and our commitment to making the School and the University welcoming spaces for Indigenous scholars and students alike.

This commitment is best exemplified in the university’s embrace of the Algonquin concept, aditawazi nisoditadiwin, an idea that deeply informed the institution’s Aboriginal Coordinated Strategy. Aditawazi nisoditadiwin, in Màmìwininìmowin (Algonquin language), is the concept of being between two worlds and developing an awareness and understanding of both. In adopting the new name “School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies,” we are looking to recentre our students and our scholarship in this space between.

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