Jodi Viljoen 
IRC Co-Chair, thru Spring 2022


The IN MEMORIAM of The SFU Department of Psychology's tribute to Dr. Jodi Viljoen can be found here.

Dr. Jodi Viljoen's words about herself and being on the IRC from earlier in 2022.

I am a professor at Simon Fraser University, and clinical and forensic psychologist. My research, teaching, and clinical work focus on improving services for people in the justice system, particularly adolescents.

As a white settler, who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, I did not learn much about Indigenous peoples in school. What I did learned was a very skewed perspective of white colonizers. I began to become more aware of colonialism and systematic racism during my graduate training. For instance, when I was completing my Masters degree, I had a chance to do a clinical practicum in the Yukon where I travelled with a mental health team to a small northern Indigenous community.

As a professor, an important turning point for me, was that I had chance to work with several Indigenous graduate students (who have gone on to become professors, research directors, leaders, etc.). I learned so much from them, and I am extremely grateful to them for sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Having a chance to work directly with Indigenous students made me become increasingly aware of systematic racism and barriers faced by Indigenous students, and the ways in which I needed to do better. Although I feel like I have made some progress over the past decade, I am still very much a learner.

I love being a member of the Indigenous Reconciliation Committee and being a part of a group of Indigenous peoples and settlers (including students, staff, and faculty) working together towards reconciliation. Although the work is sometimes difficult and overwhelming, I have been inspired by the people I have met on the committee and seeing some of the steps that students and faculty in our program have taken thus far.