Chris (Syeta’xtn) Lewis joins SFU in advisory role on Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation
by Kevin Cherney
Over a long and meaningful connection with SFU, Chris (Syeta’xtn) Lewis has served in an ever-growing list of roles. He is an alumnus, graduating in 2005 with a BA in geography and First Nations Studies. He was a member of the Board of Governors and also served as Board Chair. He was the co-chair of the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC). And in 2021 he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.
Over the past year along with the former Provost, Catherine Dauvergne, Syeta’xtn is co-chair for the Indigenous Leadership Listening and Implementation Task Force (ILLIT), which is developing the senior leadership role(s) recommended in the SFU-ARC report, and the subsequent Pathways Report. With Dr. Dauvergne’s departure, Vice-Provost Elizabeth Elle continues this important work with Syeta’xtn. The new senior leadership role will be responsible for strategic leadership on matters related to SFU’s Indigenous priorities, including in the areas of learning and teaching, research, and community engagement. In addition to establishing the new senior leadership position, Syeta’xtn will guide and support a number of other activities that help SFU move toward Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenization.
“I am excited to continue and build on the work that has began with the SFU Walk this Path with Us and the Looking Forward... Indigenous Pathways To and Through Simon Fraser University Reports,” he says. “As we consider Truth, Reconciliation, Decolonization and Indigenization at SFU, we have listened and heard the voices of our Indigenous communities. I am confident, with the current work and work yet to come, that when we work together we can achieve great things.”
In October 2021, Syeta’xtn completed his third consecutive four-year term as elected Councillor and Spokesperson with Squamish Nation, and continues to be an active leader in the community.