media release

Photo Op: SFU hosts First Nations witnessing ceremony highlighting reconciliation report calls to action —Oct. 16

October 13, 2017
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Contact:
Ron Johnston, Office for Aboriginal Peoples, 778.782.8924, ronaldj@sfu.ca
Justin Wong, University Communications, 778.782.3035/778.782.5151, jrwong@sfu.ca

Simon Fraser University is hosting a Coast Salish witnessing ceremony, Kwis Ns7eyx̱, to celebrate and honour the work that went into its final report, summoning the University to commence action in four key areas.

The final report, titled Walk this Path With Us, highlights the groundwork ahead as the University community begins its collaborative journey towards reconciliation.

The report includes 33 calls to action, organized into four clusters:

  • Creating safe and welcoming spaces for Aboriginal peoples
  • Curriculum innovation and indigenization
  • Student pathways and support
  • Administration, hiring and project implementation

At the event, the Simon Fraser University Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) will present their calls to action to SFU President Andrew Petter. In addition, “witnesses” will be called upon from various indigenous communities in accordance with local oral tradition and practices that have happened on these lands for millennia.

WHAT: Kwis Ns7eyx̱ (Witness) Ceremony
WHEN
: Monday, October 16, 2017, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WHERE
: Convocation Mall, SFU Burnaby campus

Visuals:

  • SFU’s Convocation Mall will be set-up in a traditional Coast Salish longhouse layout with guests gathered around the stage
  • Guests will enter through an intricate cedar carved entrance way
  • The stage will feature a replica of a traditional Coast Salish longhouse as a backdrop
  • Ceremonial blankets will be placed on the floor of the Convocation Mall Longhouse and stage to commence the ceremony at 11:00am
  • Ceremonial blanketing of witnesses
  • First Nations drumming and singing will take place as part of the ceremony
  • Indigenous Fusion Cuisine: Metro Vancouver residents breaking bread with Elders and other members of the Coast Salish community during a reception following the ceremony
  • Traditional First Nations regalia will be worn by some participants

Media Opportunities:

There will be an opportunity to take photos and to interview SFU President Andrew Petter, SFU-ARC co-chairs Chris Lewis and Kris Magnusson as well as SFU Office for Aboriginal People’s acting director Ron Johnston.

Fast Facts:

  • Last fall, SFU President Andrew Petter established Simon Fraser University Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) to facilitate and support broad discussions about how the University could address the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission specific to post-secondary education.
  • SFU has committed $9 million in University funding to advance reconciliation projects across the SFU community over the next four years.
  • The council, co-chaired by SFU board member Chris Lewis and Kris Magnusson, dean of the Faculty of Education, held eight open forums and 11 council meetings over the past 11months to inform the calls to action for the report.
  • The participants included Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members connected with the SFU community. The council also consulted with the Métis Nation of B.C. and the three local First Nations on whose land SFU sits.

Learn More:

ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY:

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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