Office for Aboriginal Peoples Newsletter

February 14, 2018

Reconciliation through education: walking this path together

At a special witnessing ceremony last October, Speaker Gabriel George (Tsleil-Waututh) (right) thanked SFU President Andrew Petter (left), on behalf of the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council, for his commitment to reconciliation. During the ceremony, the council presented a 96-page report detailing 34 calls to action to support reconciliation initiatives at the university.

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.

> Read More

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.

> Read More

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.


  • Revitalizing First Nations languages: Plains Cree

    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.

    > Read More

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.”

> Read More 

  • Students celebrate Coast Salish art at Bill Reid Centre

    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.

    > Read More

  • New welcome figure for Burnaby campus

    Last spring, SFU erected its first Welcome Pole at the entrance to the Burnaby campus to honour the traditional Coast Salish territories on which SFU is located: the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Kwikwetlem territories.

    > Read More

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.

Read More

2017 Graduate Aboriginal Entrance Scholarship winners: Spencer Greening and Derrick O'Keefe

Derrick O'Keefe

A committed social activist and proponent of independent media, Derrick O’Keefe is pursuing a master’s degree in communication focused on public interest journalism and the role this type of media plays in covering climate change and ecological crisis.

Read More 

Spencer Greening

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. 

Read More 

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.

Read More 

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.

Read More