Published Monday, Jun. 29, 2015
Tim McTiernan is president and vice-chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and a member of the board of directors of Universities Canada.
For most of us, Canada Day is time off from work, a red and white cake and fireworks as the sun goes down. Like any birthday celebration, it can be a bit inward-focused; celebrating “us” with barely a nod to the world Canada entered. This year, with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission fresh in our minds, it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the 148-year federation, how we all fit in and who we want to become through reconciliation.
The TRC has given us much to consider. It calls for a reset of the relationship between First Nations and non-indigenous communities. Canadian universities have a key role to play. The TRC specifically calls on educational institutions to engage with indigenous communities and be leaders in reconciliation.
Canada’s universities welcome the call. We’re ready to do more.
Universities Canada, the national organization representing 97 universities across the country, will unveil this week new principles on indigenous education. These principles were developed by university leaders over the past year, to signal our shared commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for indigenous students – from kindergarten to postgraduate studies – and fostering reconciliation across Canada.
Higher education has much to contribute to a renewed relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada. The cohabitation of Western and indigenous knowledge on campuses has the power to open a dialogue among cultures, enhance our mutual understanding and make change happen.
There is a moral, social and economic imperative to act. Read More…