Office for Aboriginal Peoples Newsletter
Reconciliation through education: walking this path together
SFU is meeting the challenge of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action with a $9-million, three-year strategic investment in projects and initiatives to support reconciliation at all SFU campuses.
After many months of consideration and collaboration last year, SFU’s 18-member Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (ARC) completed a 96-page report,“Walk This Path With Us.” The council presented the report to President Andrew Petter during a special witnessing ceremony in Coast Salish protocol and tradition last October.
SFU President's Message
Thanks to the efforts of many at Simon Fraser University, combined with the support of community partners, we can be proud of the progress made in 2017 to advance Aboriginal initiatives.
I am particularly appreciative of the work of the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (ARC) which, under the guidance of co-chairs Kris Magnusson and Chris Lewis, undertook an extensive community consultation to determine how best the university can serve the cause of reconciliation in Canada.
Extraordinary educator completes master's despite significant obstacles
Returning to university later in life is always a challenge, but Cheryl Schweizer, 53, of the Tlazt’en Nation, encountered more obstacles than usual.
Joelle Majeau, a second-year First Nations Studies student, took the course last fall and says meeting other students who were passionate about learning Cree left her feeling inspired to overcome the challenges of learning a new language.
SFU graduate students Treena Chambers and Rachel Taylor spent 10 days in Germany last spring researching the Canadian Indigenous literature archive of Harmut Lutz.
The popular two-year cohort program began in 2012 at SFU’s Beedie School of Business with bi-annual registration, and has achieved full registration (25 students) for every intake since its inception.
Education for reconciliation
Last August, SFU’s Faculty of Education kicked off a unique, two-year program,Indigenous Education: Education for Reconciliation.
This Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) is helping educators learn how to weave Indigenous knowledge and practices into the B.C. school curriculum.
“Education for reconciliation is about intercultural learning, and transforming the systemic contexts in which we raise young people,” says education professor Vicki Kelly. “It’s about finding ways to respond to the call to attend to Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations, and what it means to live on this land together.”
A new exhibition at SFU’s Bill Reid Centre, Intangible: Memory and Innovation in Coast Salish Art, tells the stories of six Coast Salish artists through the lens of students enrolled in a Moving Images course in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology.
Michelle Pidgeon became a professor of education because of her love for research, not a desire to teach.
Fostering university success for Indigenous students
In January 2018, SFU introduced a new Interim Aboriginal University Preparation Program(IAUPP) that prepares Indigenous students to succeed in pursuing undergraduate studies in the academic program of their choice at SFU.
The program’s learning environment affirms and integrates Indigenous knowledge and perspectives, and offers mentorship and support as students take first-year academic credit and non-credit courses that help ensure a successful transition to undergraduate studies.
2017 Graduate Aboriginal Entrance Scholarship winners: Spencer Greening and Derrick O'Keefe
A member of the Gitga’at First Nation, a Tsimshian tribe on B.C.’s Northwest Coast, he has worked with his community both personally and professionally for years.
SFU attracts Indigenous faculty members
Meet four new Indigenous faculty members who joined SFU in 2017. Over the past several years, SFU has been recruiting Indigenous faculty who can help the university bring Indigenous perspectives to the classroom.
The I-HEART Centre disseminates and applies Indigenous health knowledge to inform new policies and programs for alleviating chronic cardiovascular health conditions among First Nations people.
PhD research praises B.C. program treating Indigenous youth living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Billie Joe Rogers devoted five years to completing her SFU PhD thesis, which evaluated a B.C. provincial program to support Indigenous youth living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and involved in the juvenile justice system.
Project explores alternative healing practices for First Nations communities
SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences teamed up with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and the Tzu Chi Foundation to implement a six-month pilot project last year that introduced traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to First Nations communities in B.C.
The first community to participate was the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo, B.C. where residents could attend a TCM clinic offering acupuncture services. Strong evidence shows that acupuncture is effective for relieving the chronic pain conditions that many First Nations people suffer.
While the project examines how TCM may contribute to First Nations peoples’ health and well-being, the ultimate goal is to see whether this alternative medicine practice can help spark a revitalization of traditional Indigenous ways of healing.
SFU archaeology professor Rudy Reimer spent last summer filming for season two of APTN’s television show, “Wild Archaeology.” It is the first documentary TV series to explore the archaeological record of Canada’s Indigenous peoples from their point of view.