National Indigenous Peoples Month

June 01, 2022

As a Secwepemc-Syilx/Indigenous woman, scholar, and staff person within Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Simon Fraser University I am heartened to see SFU devoting a whole month to Indigenous peoples on these lands known as Canada.  Since 2009, when it was started at the federal level, I have heard rumblings in Indian country objecting to the "History" part of "National Indigenous History Month".

Given the uncovering of the 215 unmarked graves in T’kem’lups te Secwepemc, do Settler Canadians understand why we do not want to celebrate the “history” that sits between us?  I agree with those who do not want “history” as a part of the national identifier.  Since the remains of unnamed children have been found in unmarked graves across this country, the dialogue between Indigenous and Settler peoples have finally moved into a truthful space.  

Up until now, we as the original peoples of these lands have continually accommodated the discomfort of Settlers who could not take ownership of that history.  The truth has come to us in physical evidence and has opened doors of healing possibilities. Healing is needed on both sides of the proverbial colonial coin because the colonizing process is brutal on both sides.  My only ask of Settler Canadians is, please do not expect us to hold your hand while you do your healing.  We are busy working on our own!

Some of the work that we have been doing within GPS since I started in my position a year ago are shared below. Whether you’re an Indigenous person, a Settler Canadian, or a visitor on these lands, listen to the voices of the grad students as well as those working to decolonize the University for current and future Indigenous graduate students by watching the videos.

Working to demystify the graduate school experience for Indigenous students

Having important conversations with key Indigenous leaders within SFU about what it means to be an Indigenous person in grad school, helps current students know where to go for support and resources, and it also helps up-and-coming Indigenous undergrad students get a head start on how to face some of the challenges that come with being an Indigenous grad student at SFU.

Topics highlights in this webinar include:

  • The importance of relationships and utilizing the SAGE network
  • Connecting your program through the annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium
  • Resources available at the SFU Library
  • How to “Indigenize” your MA or PhD defense/thesis/dissertation writing
  • Supervisory committees

Learn more about the featured panelists

Sharing the stories of our Indigenous graduate students

Initiated by Dr. Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian, Associate Director, Indigenous Policy & Pedagogy, this video series features conversations with Indigenous masters and doctoral students from various faculties within SFU.

Christian records and has conversations with each student over Zoom. We learn about their unique backgrounds, the communities they come from, their journeys prior to coming to SFU, their research, and what inspires them in their graduate studies.

Sharing the stories and learnings from supervising Indigenous graduate students as non-Indigenous faculty members