An opportunity to support the Wet’suwet’en people

A message from FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group:

In recent weeks, hundreds of scholars from around the world have signed on to an open letter expressing support for BC’s Wet’suwet’en people and calling on the Canadian Government and the RCMP to cease pipeline work on Unist’ot’en Territory. Read the letter here. If you so choose, you can add your voice as a scholar.

Note: the Indigenization Working Group is an ad hoc committee of FAUW. Its support of the open letter should not be construed as FAUW’s position. Visit our website to learn more about the working group and about Indigenization at Waterloo.

People You Should Know: Lori Campbell, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre

Our “People You Should Know” blog series interviews key people and offices at the University of Waterloo so you can make the most of their services. 

Lori Campbell is a 2-Spirit nēhiyaw atāpihtāwikosisān iskwew. Okawiya mōniyawi-sākahikanihk, Treaty 6 territory in kīwētinohk kisiskāciwan ohcīw. (Translation: a 2-Spirit Cree-Métis woman. Her mother is from Montreal Lake First Nation, Treaty 6 territory in northern Saskatchewan.) She’s the Director of Shatitsirótha’ Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (WISC), which is located at St. Paul’s University College at the west end of the campus. We interviewed Lori to help you better understand her role and how it relates to yours.

What does your role involve?

The Centre provides a range of services for Indigenous-identifying students and leads educational opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and administration.

The academic support part of my role includes providing strategic direction on Indigenous education; developing an Indigenous student recruitment strategy; building relationships with internal and external stakeholders; and developing Indigenous academic programming and an Indigenous research agenda.

Why might faculty members be interested in what you do?

Our centre is a refuge for engaging and supporting relationships among faculty, students and staff at the University of Waterloo and in the Indigenous community. We initiate, celebrate, and support cultural and academic events that promote respect, research, relationship building, and reconciliation.

Continue reading “People You Should Know: Lori Campbell, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre”

What Indigenous students want faculty to know

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with three Indigenous students at the University of Waterloo to hear what they would like faculty members to know about their experiences as Indigenous students in higher education.

Kiel Harris (Gitxsan/Gitanyow) is a third-year student in Planning who grew up in northern British Columbia on two different reserves. Kiel had already completed a college diploma before coming to Waterloo and is, therefore, older than many in his cohort. Kelsey Hewitt (Anishnaabe/Lac Seul First Nation) is a third-year student in Geography and Environmental Management who grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo. Kelsey also identifies as a mature student, having not started university straight out of high school. Finally, Anika McAlpine (Cree/Moose Cree First Nation) is a first-year student in Medicinal Chemistry who grew up off-reserve in northern Ontario, in a community that has a large Indigenous population.

Our conversation was broad and far-reaching, touching on challenges related to creating a visible Indigenous space on campus, concerns about implicit bias if students declare their Indigeneity to their professors, and the transitional issues Indigenous students from remote communities might face.

In this blog post, I focus on the students’ ideas about what faculty members can do right now to support Indigenization and Indigenous students in their classrooms. I’ve organized their thoughts chronologically, beginning with the first day of class and carrying through to final assessments.

Continue reading “What Indigenous students want faculty to know”

Trauma in the Classroom for Indigenous Scholars: How Should We Respond? (book review)

This is the second in a series of book reviews written by FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group.

Book cover: Colonized Classrooms: Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education by Sheila Cote-MeekCote-Meek, Sheila. Colonized Classrooms: Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education. Fernwood, 2014. 175 pp.

—Shannon Dea, Department of Philosophy

Earlier this year, in the days and weeks following the devastating one-two punch of the acquittals of two White men on trial for the murders of Colton Boushie and Tina Fontaine, many post-secondary educators asked themselves how they should respond in the classroom. To discuss the topic, CBC Radio One turned to Sheila Cote-Meek, whose 2014 Colonized Classrooms addressed the matter square-on.

Sheila Cote-Meek is a professor of Indigenous Relations, and Associate Vice President of Academic & Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University. In Colonized Classrooms, she reports on and extrapolates from her doctoral dissertation, for which she interviewed fifteen Indigenous university students, faculty members and Elders. Cote-Meek uses Indigenous, post-colonial, feminist, and critical race scholarship ranging from Frantz Fanon and bell hooks to Gregory Cajete and Laara Fitznor to frame and expand upon what she learned in those interviews. Continue reading “Trauma in the Classroom for Indigenous Scholars: How Should We Respond? (book review)”

Reading Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel (book review)

This is the first in a series of book reviews written by FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group.indigenous_writes_web

Vowel, Chelsea. Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada. Highwater Press, 2016, 240 pages.

—Katy Fulfer, Philosophy/Women’s Studies

I have good intentions when it comes to Indigenizing the university and decolonizing my teaching. I have resources available to help with the latter, but the former leaves me feeling overwhelmed. However, dwelling in a space of inaction is irresponsible. ‘Having good intentions’ won’t address structural injustice (and can perpetuate it).

Thankfully, educator and lawyer Chelsea Vowel wrote a primer for people like me who know that I ought to—and need to—know more than I do about Indigenous issues in Canada. I was attracted to this book because I’m a mega-fan of the Métis in Space podcast, in which Vowel and co-host Molly Swain provide a smart, sarcastic look at representations of indigeneity in science fiction film and television. Vowel brings the same sense of humour to Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada. Continue reading “Reading Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel (book review)”

Territorial Acknowledgements and Indigenization: A Primer

Shannon Dea, Philosophy; FAUW vice president

Territorial acknowledgements

If you have received an email from me in the past year, you will have seen this statement in the footer: “I acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.” You have likely heard a similar acknowledgement at campus events in the past year or two. The statement is a territorial acknowledgement.

While reasons for using territorial acknowledgements vary from person to person and from group to group, I now use a territorial acknowledgement in my email, on my course syllabi, at the beginning of research talks, and even in the footnotes of my articles for two main reasons: out of respect for the past and out of commitment to the future.

Respecting the past

I am showing respect for the past in two ways when I use a territorial acknowledgement. First, I connect myself with a centuries-old tradition practiced by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) people. Second, I show my respect for the people who preceded settlers (i.e., non-FNIM folks) on this land. Continue reading “Territorial Acknowledgements and Indigenization: A Primer”

News From Your Board – September 14 Meeting

Welcome to a new series of FAUW blogs, “News From Your Board”. To increase the transparency of board activities and keep members up-to-date, we’ll be sharing some of the non-confidential discussion from our biweekly Board meetings.

The first highlight from the September 14 meeting was welcoming Bryan Tolson to his first board meeting as President. Bryan began with the always-aspirational goal to end the meeting on time!

We revisited ideas and plans for the year from our day-long retreat at the start of September:

  • better defining our membership
  • further communications improvements (like this series)
  • continued aspirations for a more robust teaching evaluation system to complement student surveys
  • how we can contribute to Indigenization efforts across campus

A regular part of each Board meeting is reports from FAUW committees and constituent positions, including updates from the Faculty Relations Committee (FRC). FRC is the main venue through which FAUW and the administration work together on collegial governance of the University. We also hear from representatives of the Lecturers, Academic Freedom & Tenure (AF&T), Status of Women & Equity, and Pension and Benefits committees.

The last agenda item was the slate of upcoming FAUW events. Our packed Fall schedule includes the New Faculty & Family Welcome Dinner on September 22, a workshop for mid-career faculty on September 29, FAUW’s 60th anniversary party on October 26, a Council of Representatives meeting on November 14, and the Fall General Meeting on December 6.

And with that, Bryan managed to squeeze one of the most ambitious September agendas in recent FAUW memory into the actual scheduled time! Congrats Bryan! Looking forward to the next meeting in two weeks!

—Peter Johnson, communications lead, FAUW Board of Directors