Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President

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SFU-ARC challenges us to do more to advance the cause of reconciliation

October 17, 2017

Simon Fraser University took a major step forward on the road to reconciliation this week when the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (ARC) presented its final report to the University.

The report, Walk This Path With Us, was formally transferred to me in a traditional Coast Salish witnessing ceremony attended by First Nations and Metis peoples, government representatives, students, faculty, staff, and members of the broader community.

It was my honour to take part in the ceremony and to receive the 33 calls to action set out in the report. Our next steps will be to establish inclusive and collaborative processes to respond to each of these recommendations.

Thankfully, the ARC has shown through its own practices how this can be done. I am deeply grateful to members of the Council for the time and energy they devoted to this endeavour, as well as to all those who participated in its consultations and contributed to its work. My special thanks goes to co-chairs Chris Lewis and Kris Magnusson for their extraordinary leadership, and for guiding the work of the Council to a successful conclusion.

The process of reconciliation is one of the great national undertakings of our time, and affords us an opportunity to be part of a generation that helps to right the wrongs of the past and to produce a brighter future for all Canadians.

Canada’s failures to recognize and respect Indigenous rights has not only caused great damage to Indigenous peoples, but has also caused great damage to our country.

Many at SFU have been working hard to support Indigenous students, respect Indigenous knowledge, and to strengthen ties with Indigenous peoples and communities. While we have made significant headway in recent years, the ARC report calls upon us to go further and do more in our efforts to be an instrument for reconciliation.

In this spirit, we commit ourselves to giving life to this report, and to working collaboratively and inclusively to answer its calls to action. 

To view the video of the witnessing ceremony visit the SFU Facebook page.

Left to right: Gabriel George (Tsleil-Waututh), Chief Ian Campbell (Squamish), Elder Margaret (Skawahlook First Nation) and Councillor Carla George (Squamish)
With Gabriel George
SFU Board of Governors member and Squamish Nation Councillor Chris Lewis with Vice-president Research & International Joy Johnson
Members of the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council