Congratulations, Summer 2021 Graduates!

June 23, 2021
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Message from Dr. Deanna Reder, INDG Chair:

Dear June 2021 SFU Graduates in Indigenous Studies,

I am very happy to send you all warm congratulations.  You are to be congratulated for your determination to complete your degree in such unusual and challenging circumstances. I am confident that the strength and resilience that you demonstrated in your studies will help you navigate what is being called “the new normal.” 

I am also very pleased to announce that you are the first graduates of the recently renamed Department of Indigenous Studies. In fact, it is your generation of students that advocated for the name change. At the time of the establishment of our program in 1989, other Canadian universities had programs with names like “Native Studies” and even “Indian Studies”; our founders preferred “First Nations Studies” with the implied assertion of Indigenous sovereignty.  Over time, however, and as you have learned in your FNST classes, Indigenous has become a preferred term as it is more inclusive; the term recognizes Métis and Inuit groups along with First Nations peoples and has an international inflection, that recognizes the similar experiences of Indigenous peoples under colonization around the world. Thank you for your calls for change.

I also want to recognize the great deal of work completed by our department staff to undertake our name change throughout the university.  It is because of their efforts that your graduating transcript will include this new name. 

In the next ten years there will likely be retirements and new hires, and periodically we will reach out to you to attend certain events if you can. Please don’t hesitate to keep in touch with us, to share successes or to ask for advice, or simply to update your address or to stop by for a visit.  We would love to keep in touch. 

Again, Congratulations!  I would like to follow local Indigenous traditions to demonstrate our respect for you: “I lift my hands to you”! 

All the best,

Dr. Deanna Reder, INDG Chair
dhr@sfu.ca 778-782-8192