SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council Guides the Way Forward
By: Andrew Petter
As Nobel laureate Bob Dylan once wrote: “the times they are a-changing.”
These words are especially relevant to the growing desire within Canada to seek reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
Simon Fraser University is committed to playing an important part in this process. We take seriously the calls to action set out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. And we recognize our essential role as an ‘engaged university’ to promote reconciliation, teaching and healing.
To that end, we have created an SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) comprised of elders, educators, and students and chaired by SFU Board of Governors member Chris Lewis, councilor of the Squamish Nation, and Dean of Education Kris Magnusson. SFU has also allocated $9 million over the next four years to fund initiatives that support reconciliation.
The task of the SFU-ARC is to consult with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples and communities, on and off campus, in the process of developing a set of recommendations to guide the way forward. Initiatives that result from these recommendations will add to the growing repertoire of Aboriginal programs and activities that SFU provides. This is important and challenging work, and I thank all members of the SFU-ARC for their time and commitment to this process.
I am heartened by the fact that voices that have long been excluded from the national dialogue are finally being heard. Canadians and Canadian institutions like universities have much to learn from Aboriginal traditions, values and history – and the country as a whole has much to gain from supporting the success of current and future Aboriginal students.
If you would like to learn more about the work of SFU-ARC, or join the discussion please visit: www.sfu.ca/reconciliation.html