2022-2023 Aboriginal Peoples' Supplement

New Indigenous student space at SFU Burnaby creates community

It’s not always easy to stand out at a school as big as Simon Fraser University, especially for Indigenous students who can struggle to see themselves represented in its halls.

But students say they’re one step closer to feeling safe and visible on campus with the opening of the expanded Indigenous Student Centre space in the 3000 level of the Academic Quadrangle at Burnaby campus.

Director, Office for Aboriginal Peoples' message

The Office for Aboriginal Peoples is delighted and honoured to share our annual newsletter with you, which provides a snap shot of some of the various Indigenous initiatives that have taken place at SFU over the past year.

Chris (Syeta’xtn) Lewis joins SFU in advisory role on Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation

Over a long and meaningful connection with SFU, Chris (Syeta’xtn) Lewis has served in an ever-growing list of roles.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at SFU

In 2021, the Government of Canada moved to instate September 30, Orange Shirt Day, as a national holiday — the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. SFU commemorated Truth and Reconciliation Day across the university’s three campuses in 2021 and 2022.

New medical school to increase access to family doctors across the Province

SFU is forging ahead with planning for the first medical school to be built in Western Canada in the last half century. The medical school aims to educate more doctors to serve underserved populations and to improve care throughout B.C.

National Indigenous Peoples Month

For generations, many Indigenous peoples and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near June 21 due to the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year.

Indigenous-led study to improve child health and wellness

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in Port Alberni is leading a long-term study to improve health and wellness for Indigenous children, with collaboration from Indigenous leaders and communities, First Nations Health Authority, and researchers from SFU and the University of Alberta. This work is being funded by a $16 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Residential School research project reunites children with their communities

Over a decade ago, SFU researchers began work on the Brandon Indian Residential School Cemeteries Project, an important collaboration with the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation of southwestern Manitoba. The project seeks to reclaim the identities of children who died at the school while it was in operation between 1895 and 1972.

Ancient Forest Gardens in Nuchatlaht ḥaḥuułiʔakʔi (territory) illuminate hishuk'ush tsawalk (everything is one) nisma (land) and caaʔak (water) stewardship

Research combining archaeological, ecological data and traditional ecological knowledge has identified ancient orchards and forest gardens on Nootka Island, located off the west coast of Vancouver Island, demonstrating active Indigenous cultivation on the land.

Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship Recipients

Celebrating Indigenous graduate scholarship winners

In 2022, SFU selected two Indigenous graduate students to receive the Indigenous Graduate Entrance Scholarship. The Office of the Vice- President, Academic established the scholarship in 2013 to encourage Indigenous students to consider graduate studies and, ultimately, a career in post-secondary education.

PhD student fuses Indigenous queer studies and criminology

Niitsítapi, Dené artist challenges colonial representations through powerful portraiture

Graduate students named Vanier Scholars

This past November two Indigenous SFU graduate students were named as Vanier Scholars for the 2022 competition year.

The Government of Canada launched the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program in 2008 to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning.

Michaela M. McGuire/Jaad Gudgihljiwah
Tiara Cash

SFU welcomes Indigenous Faculty and Staff

New master's degree program established to support language revitalization

In response to the urgent need expressed by Indigenous communities in British Columbia and the Yukon to produce advanced speakers and documentarians of their languages, SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has established the Master of Arts in Indigenous Languages and Linguistics.

Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue appoints three new Dialogue Fellows

In early 2022, the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue appointed three new Dialogue Fellows to lead initiatives that focus on reconciliation and decolonization: Kris Archie, Dr. Karine Duhamel and Lindsay Heller.

New Indigenous-led economic reconciliation framework to guide the way forward

A path to economic reconciliation is outlined in a 2022 report by Sxwpilemaát Siyám, Hereditary Chief Leanne Joe, of the Squamish Nation, in partnership with SFU’s Community Economic Development program.

From player to Coach: Sharing the love for sport

For many youth athletes, the love for sport has been overshadowed by the extreme pressure to win. Owen McBride, an Indigenous student athlete on SFU’s men’s soccer team identified this issue with youth sports and launched Private Coaching Co., a program dedicated to helping young athletes fall in love with sport.

Building foundations for transformation

Len Pierre, member of Katzie First Nation and founder of his own Indigenous consulting firm, Len Pierre Consulting, says completing his Master of Education degree at SFU helped lay the foundation for the principles and practices he brings to his work facilitating Indigenous cultural safety training, reconciliation, decolonization and anti-racism in large organizations.

Indigenous leaders welcome historic repatriation of stolen Nisga’a memorial totem pole

SFU education professor and Canada Research Chair Amy Parent was among Indigenous leaders who traveled to Scotland in August to discuss repatriation of a long-stolen memorial totem pole—a journey that recently led to an agreement for its return home.

Honoring Indigenous leadership at SFU

During the fall 2022 convocation ceremony, SFU bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Letters, honoris causa on Michelle Good, a Cree author, lawyer and advocate who shares the trauma and hardships faced by residential school survivors.

Alanaise Ferguson and George Nicholas honoured as 2022 Distinguished SFU Professors

From protecting our planet by challenging conventional notions about ecosystem resiliency, to dismantling social and structural factors that limit our sexual and mental health, SFU’s 2022 Distinguished SFU Professors are tackling some of the most pressing issues impacting our local, national and global communities.

Celebrating the launch of the Snuneymuxw language learning hub

At the invitation of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, representatives from SFU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) travelled to Nanaimo in July 2022 to witness the opening ceremony of the new Snuneymuxw Learning Academy.

Addressing Food Security in Klemtu

As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, food supply chains can be extremely fragile. The pandemic, especially, has shown how important having a local food source is to the food security of remote communities.

SFU launches Centre for Collaborative Action on Indigenous Health Governance

The Centre for Collaborative Action on Indigenous Health Governance officially welcomes Dr. Krista Stelkia and Dr. Jeffrey Reading as interim Co-Directors at the new research centre based in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU.

SFU’s Indigenous Business Leadership EMBA brings Indigenous ways of learning into the business world

The importance of having Indigenous role models—both for herself and her daughter—is what drew Joanne Stone-Campbell to SFU Beedie’s Indigenous Business Leadership Executive MBA program.

First Peoples’ Gathering House Update

Construction is now underway for the First Peoples’ Gathering House in 2023. Supported by Indigenous host communities, the First Peoples’ Gathering House is designed as a shared gathering space for ceremonies, cultural events, celebrations, workshops and sharing knowledge.

A Glimpse of the Indigenous Garden and Outdoor Classroom

Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing are interconnected with the land. SFU's new Indigenous garden and outdoor classroom will be a welcoming place-based learning spaces at the Burnaby campus that honours Indigenous pedagogy.

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