May 15, 2017

The SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council outlines a path toward reconciliation

The final report of the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council, titled "Walk This Path With Us," will be released on June 16, 2017. The executive summary, containing 29 calls to action, was shared at an information session on May 2.

On May 2, 2017, Chris Lewis and Kris Magnusson, co-chairs of SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (ARC), presented an executive summary of the Council’s final report. The full report, titled “Walk This Path With Us,” will be released on June 16.

ARC was established in response to the findings of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined the harmful legacy of Canada’s residential school system. ARC’s mandate was to make recommendations for the allocation of $9 million that the University has set aside to promote reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members of the SFU community. As outlined in the executive summary, the ARC report will include 29 calls to action, organized into seven “clusters”:

  • Cluster 1: Indigenizing spaces
  • Cluster 2: Indigenizing curricula and curricular processes
  • Cluster 3: Building community support
  • Cluster 4: Indigenizing policies and practices
  • Cluster 5: Student programming
  • Cluster 6: Administration
  • Cluster 7: BHAGs [Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals]

Download the SFU-ARC executive summary from the final report.

From a teaching and learning perspective, Cluster 2 is particularly noteworthy. It includes calls for the creation of an Indigenous Curriculum Review Committee “to review and make recommendations for the approval of Indigenous curriculum,” as well as funding to develop support for faculty members who wish to indigenize their courses and the creation of an Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre. It also calls for a process to select from among three options for implementing Indigenous curriculum:

  • Option 1: Create Aboriginal (“A”) requirement for WQB and mandate creation or designation of A courses for each program
  • Option 2: Create single mandatory course required of all students
  • Option 3: Infuse Indigenous content throughout curriculum

The overall goal of the ARC calls to action is reconciliation, which the Council describes as follows:

Reconciliation is the establishment of respectful relations between two groups, and as such, is a responsibility that is shared by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. ARC represents an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of SFU to co-create a preferred future in which SFU is known as a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment for Indigenous students, staff , and faculty.

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