SFU Reconciliation

Kwis Ns7eyx̱to, a traditional Coast Salish witnessing ceremony, celebrates & honours the work that went into the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council final report, Walk This Path With Us, which now guides & inspires the university's journey toward reconciliation. The award-winning event was held July 2018.

Simon Fraser University respectfully acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples, including the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), q̓íc̓əy̓ (Katzie), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples, on whose unceded traditional territories our three campuses reside.

In acknowledging all the land holders of shared territories, we take on the responsibility of reconciliation by understanding the truth and stories of these lands and the peoples’ relationships and responsibilities to these lands.

You can take action by learning more about Indigenous peoples in B.C., exploring their visual culture and developing your positionality statement or land acknowledgement.

SFU Taking Action

Important reconciliation and decolonization work is being done across SFU by individuals, teams and departments as the university continues to transform and become a leader in Indigenizing our curriculum.  

Reconciliation is one of President Joy Johnson’s priorities. In 2018, SFU began implementing 34 calls to action from an SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s report.  

Current actions we are working towards

  • Establishing a new Indigenous leadership position. A working group has been struck, co-chaired by Squamish Councillor and Spokesperson and SFU alumnus Chris Lewis and Provost Catherine Dauvergne. This group will provide advice on the position, the portfolio and supports for this new leader. This listening and engagement process will take approximately six months and will be guided and led by Indigenous protocols and practices to understand the needs and wishes of local Indigenous communities, on whose shared territories SFU campuses reside.
  • Supporting the actions called for in Looking Forward... Indigenous Pathways To and Through Simon Fraser University, co-authored by Dr. Michelle Pidgeon, Joe Tobin, Trina Setah, Andrea Leveille, Donna Dunn, Mindy Ghag, Karen Johnson, and Dr. Tania Bubela and released in January 2021. The report has been received by the provost, and work on an Indigenous leadership position is the first implementation step.  The provost is also working alongside the Indigenous community at SFU on a funding framework and a three year implementation plan.
  • Entering a Memorandum of Understanding with Tsleil-Waututh Nation and renewing an agreement with Squamish Nation to continue our path in deepening our relationships with local First Nations.
  • Continued emphasis on scholarship programs, such as the Aboriginal Student Entrance Award and the Langara Admission Pathway, which has five dedicated awards.
  • Commitment to strike a working group to look at Indigenous naming of spaces and places on our campuses.

Significant actions to date

  • Expansion of the Indigenous Student Centre (expansion space opening this Fall).
  • The design of a First Peoples’ Gathering House (FPGH) is underway and being led by an Indigenous architect and SFU Indigenous leads, with input from Indigenous students and faculty, and local First Nations. Site 2 Strand Hall Annex was identified and recommended as the preferred site. The FPGH will be built on this site with funds from the SFU Aboriginal Strategic Initiative, provincial government and other SFU sources.
  • The Faculty of Education has begun creating the TRC Memorial Gardens and Outdoor Classroom, a place-based learning space for all SFU students, staff and faculty.
  • The Growing Community-based Indigenous Language Project (GCILP) designed and presented a minor to improve language degree scaffolding (approved by senate), hired a post-doctoral student to advance research into language proficiency and worked with two communities to apply to the new language proficiency funding available to communities to advance Indigenous language as second language acquisition.
  • An Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre (ICRC) has been created. The Centre will be comprised of both a physical collection of resources to lend, and an online resource guide that will aggregate guides for instructors about Indigenizing curriculum and a selection of resources appropriate for use as course texts, readings, etc. across subject areas.
  • Decolonizing Teaching: An Integrated Seminar Series and Grant Program was created to deepen the knowledge base and facilitate challenging conversations about colonialism in Canada’s history.
  • A Masters of Educational Leadership Program (MEd) was collaboratively developed by the Faculty of Education and the Squamish Nation and offered in 2019/20.

Statements from President Johnson

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT: RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL FINDINGS | JUNE 24, 2021

Today, for the second time in as many months, we are hearing more sad and disturbing news of the discovery of additional unmarked graves, with 751 Indigenous children and adults found by the Cowessess First Nation, at the former Marieval Indian Residential School. On behalf of the Simon Fraser University community I’d like to express our heartfelt support to all Indigenous People and the intergenerational survivors of the Indian Residential Schools. Read more →

TAKING ACTION: RECONCILIATION AT SFU | JUNE 09, 2021

Over the past week, our communities have grieved the discovery of the 215 children who were taken from their families and communities and died at the Kamloops Indian Residential School as part of the history of Indigenous genocide in this country. And while we continue to grieve and stand in solidarity with Indigenous colleagues and Indigenous communities, this is also a time to commit to concrete action. Read more →

Access support and learn how you can take action to honour those who never made it home.