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As the new director of Indigenous relations for SFU’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Jessie Williams will focus on creating space for respectful, open heart/open mind discussions that will generate the greatest good for students.

Faculty and Staff

Jessie Williams appointed director of Indigenous relations for Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

January 28, 2020
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Jessie Williams, of the Squamish Nation, has been appointed director of Indigenous relations in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).

In this newly created senior executive role, Williams will develop community partnerships, prepare a strategic plan for FASS to better serve its students, and initiate consultations to develop Indigenous student supports. These projects all align with the faculty’s five-year academic plan.

“Jessie Williams will co-chair FASS’ Reconciliation Committee to help plan and monitor the faculty’s response to the calls of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” says acting dean Lisa Shapiro. “Her depth of experience with Indigenous education will be extraordinarily valuable in FASS’ continuing work to ensure curriculum is an integral part of reconciliation.”

Williams holds a Master of Educational Administration and Leadership in Indigenous Education from the University of British Columbia. She has eight years of experience in educational services, policy development and assessment, and in language revitalization. Before joining FASS she was manager of recreation and community facilities at the Squamish Nation in North Vancouver.

“I am proud to join FASS as it is demonstrating a profound commitment to enhancing Indigenous engagement, authentic responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action, and Indigenous student success,” says Williams. “Leaning on wisdom gained from my lived experience as an Indigenous woman, my educational journey and the teachings bestowed upon me from knowledge holders, I am honoured to contribute to this meaningful work.”

Williams had a direct role in launching more than six academic graduate and undergraduate programs, certificates and diplomas in a partnership between First Nations communities and the post-secondary sector. She has chaired the post-secondary subcommittee on the boards of the First Nations’ Educational Steering Committee; Capilano University’s Board of Governor’s Academic Review Committee; and the North Vancouver School District Aboriginal Planning Committee.

Her service to the community includes sitting on various regional and federal committees, from the Coast Corridor Consortium Aboriginal Service Plan Committee to the Assembly of First Nations Task Force for the Post-Secondary Federal Program Review. In 2010 Williams was the special project lead for the Four Host Nations Society. This group was responsible for witnessing, naming and community celebrations for cultural and sports events, including protocol training for the City of Vancouver.