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.  

Upholding Truth and Reconciliation is one of the four priorities representing What's Next: The SFU Strategy's framework for action. In 2017, SFU began implementing 34 calls to action from the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s Walk this Path with Us report.  

Significant actions to date

  • Improving Indigenous faculty representation. SFU’s special program application with the B.C. Office of the Human Rights Commissioner for an additional targeted hiring of Indigenous faculty is in progress.Continued emphasis on scholarship programs, such as the Aboriginal Student Entrance Award and the Langara Admission Pathway, which has five dedicated awards.
  • Establishing new Indigenous leadership positions to meaningfully include Indigenous voices in decision-making at SFU.  Work is underway to support new senior leadership positions within the President’s Office, Provost and Vice-President Academic and Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion portfolios. These new roles will work in partnership with each other, collaborating with the SFU community and strengthening relationships with Host Nation communities to collectively support and advance Indigenization and Reconciliation initiatives at SFU.
  • Implementing the recommendations from the Pathways Report, including developing a new Indigenous leadership roles, investing new resources in bursaries and awards for Indigenous students and building a permanent home for the Indigenous University Preparation Program.
  • Strengthening Indigenous staff recruitment and retention. The B.C. Human Rights Commissioner recently approved SFU’s Special Program application to conduct a limited and preferential hiring of at least 15 Indigenous staff.
  • Continuing on the path to deepening our relationships with local First Nations. SFU entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Tsleil-Waututh Nation and renewed the university’s agreement with Squamish Nation.
  • In 2022 we welcomed Chris (Syeta’xtn) as Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation. In consultation with Indigenous students, faculty, staff and Host Nations, Lewis has proposed an Indigenous governance structure for SFU. We are now working towards implementation of the structure to ensure that Indigenous perspectives and ways of being are represented in every aspect of our work at the university.
  • Construction of the First Peoples’ Gathering House (FPGH) is underway. Design of this new safe and welcoming space to celebrate Indigenous knowledge and culture is led by an Indigenous architect and SFU Indigenous leads in collaboration with Indigenous students, faculty, and local First Nations. The FPGH is funded by the SFU Aboriginal Strategic Initiative, provincial and municipal Government partners and other SFU sources.
  • Informed by existing Indigenous naming protocols and processes, various revitalization projects related to Indigenous naming  are now underway at SFU and being steered by the Indigenous Naming Committee (INC). In 2023, the INC completed survey to inspire the addition of Indigenous campus names.
  • Opening of newly expanded Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) spaces: 3000 level of the Burnaby campus, as well as expanded space at the Surrey campus with Vancouver campus space is in progress. These spaces support Indigenous student success through new work and study spaces along with fostering opportunities for cultural connections.
  • SFU's new Indigenous Garden and Outdoor Classroom is a welcoming place-based learning space for all SFU students, staff and faculty at the Burnaby campus that honours Indigenous pedagogy. The Garden is for learning, reflecting, and healing. It has been created in honour of residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, their families, and communities.
  • The Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre (ICRC) space opened in Spring 2023. The Centre supports decolonizing and Indigenizing pedagogy and curriculum and comprises of both a physical collection of resources to lend and an online resource guide for instructors.
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis knowledge systems and perspectives will be embedded throughout SFU’s new medical school. Based in Surrey, the Medical School will have strong connections to remote, rural and Indigenous communities.
  • Indigenous language curriculum is expanding through the approval of a new master’s program in Indigenous Languages and Linguistics and the creation of a new Snuneymuxw language hub in Nanaimo.