June 21, 2023
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO — The Indigenous Strategic Plan provides a pathway to creating an inclusive university community that incorporates Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and experiences into the fabric of the university.
It aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action numbers 10, 11, 16, 62 and 65, which call for improving the gap of educational attainment for Indigenous learners; respecting and honouring treaty relationships; supporting Indigenous languages; integrating Indigenous knowledges and teaching methods into classrooms; and advancing understanding of reconciliation through research.
Darren Thomas, associate vice-president: Indigenous Initiatives, led the creation of the strategic plan. He undertook extensive consultations with Indigenous Elders, community members, faculty, staff and students. The plan is informed by existing Indigenous scholarship on reconciliation and decolonization in the Canadian academy, and frames Indigenization at Laurier through three levels of Indigenization: inclusion, reconciliation and decolonization.
“This plan provides a path forward for Laurier to work in partnership with Indigenous communities to undo the legacy of harm of colonialism, sharing a vision for education that combines Western and Indigenous knowledges and practices,” said Thomas.
Some elements identified in the Indigenous Strategic Plan are already underway, including the intentional recruitment of Indigenous faculty and education programs to increase awareness and understanding of Indigenization, reconciliation and decolonization within the university community.
“The launch of the Indigenous Strategic Plan marks an exciting chapter in Laurier’s history,” said Deborah MacLatchy, president and vice-chancellor. “With this plan as our guide, we will work in the spirit of reconciliation to uphold our responsibilities to Indigenous peoples and communities.”
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