Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples day

June 21, 2022

June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day.  

Today, across the university we honour the history, culture, resilience and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

As a settler, I would like to especially express my gratitude for the opportunity to learn and (un)learn from Indigenous students, faculty and staff at SFU in my role as president of this university.

Earlier this month, I attended the annual Indigenous Student Centre Honouring Ceremony to celebrate the many Indigenous students who have graduated from SFU. It was a wonderful event full of food, laughter, and recognition of the many contributions Indigenous community members make to this university.

And it was a reminder of how privileged SFU is to have three campuses located on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen First Nations. I extend my gratitude to those who have stewarded these lands over many generations.

At SFU, we have made it a priority to honour and learn about the history, culture and presence of Indigenous peoples, and to have the institution serve as an instrument for reconciliation.

However, I recognize that SFU’s commitments to decolonization and reconciliation can only meaningfully transpire through engagement with Indigenous Peoples and communities at large. Thank you to all those who have contributed to this work as we continue to develop more culturally relevant and responsive educational programs and initiatives, and to make the university more inclusive and welcoming for Indigenous students, faculty, staff and communities. My special thanks to the organizers and supporters of this year’s National Indigenous Peoples Month events spanning across our three campuses.

I hope you will all join me in honouring and celebrating Indigenous Peoples today and every day, and in helping us build a more equitable and inclusive future for all.