Whitehorse Daily Star

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Karen Barnes

Colleges, universities to advance reconciliation

Presidents and reconciliation leads from 31 Canadian colleges and universities will come together in Yukon this week for the first time ever to focus on reconciliation.

By Whitehorse Star on August 8, 2019

Presidents and reconciliation leads from 31 Canadian colleges and universities will come together in Yukon this week for the first time ever to focus on reconciliation. 

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has underscored the central responsibility of the education sector to reconcile relationships with Indigenous communities.

Yukon College, Vancouver Island University (VIU) and the McConnell Foundation, with support from Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada, will host the inaugural summer institute Perspectives on Reconciliation. The purpose is to support the Canadian post-secondary sector in advancing reconciliation.  

The institute will help leaders identify and advance pathways for reconciliation, learn from one another’s lessons and best practices and take inspiration from each other’s reconciliation journeys with the goal of accelerating and scaling up these efforts.  

“The hard work of reconciliation is now underway in Canada, and philanthropy has a responsibility to do its part,” Stephen Huddart, the foundation’s president and CEO, said this week.

“Reconciliation is particularly relevant to the post-secondary sector, where there are many opportunities to repair damage from the failed policies of the past and create a better future.

“The Yukon Summer Institute is a helpful step forward in achieving these goals.”   

“The responsibility post-secondary institutions have on the reconciliation journey is complex,” said Dr. Deb Saucier, VIU’s president and vice-chancellor.

“Institutions need to look inward and critically examine how we support recognition and development of meaningful discourse on this important topic as well as play a leadership role in moving the conversation forward in the greater community.

“VIU has distinguished itself as a contributor to the reconciliation dialogue locally, regionally and nationally, and I’m looking forward to sharing our knowledge and learning from others to determine next steps in our journey.” 

“Reconciliation in post-secondary must be authentic, thoughtful and meaningful,” said Karen Barnes, Yukon College’s president and vice-chancellor.

“It needs to be more than land acknowledgments, art on the wall, token conversations and increasing Indigenous enrolments.

“It is about shifting power within institutions, concrete changes in everything we do – from research and curriculum to outreach and governance – grounded in strong relationships and honest conversation with Indigenous partners,” Barnes added.

“We are honoured to create space for this sharing of knowledge and essential dialogue.” 

The institute kicks off on Friday in Dawson City for two days with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.

The action then shifts to Yukon College’s Ayamdigut campus in Whitehorse for three days.

It will then wrap up in the traditional territory of the Carcross-Tagish First Nation with a day of planning next steps, ceremony and feast.  

Presidents and reconciliation leads from the participating institutions will explore ways to advance reconciliation through various aspects of their institutions: services and space, programs and research, and policy and governance.  

By the close of their time in Yukon, it’s intended that participants become better equipped to assess their own reconciliation efforts and identify concrete next steps that will produce meaningful change. 

“In heeding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, we recognize that reconciliation is a journey which involves a number of challenging conversations,” said Chad Lubelsky, the foundation’s program director.

“Our hope is that, through coming together at the Perspectives on Reconciliation summer institute, participants are able to build a network of support with allies at colleges and universities across Canada and lay the foundation for a nationwide community of practice.”

Comments (11)

Up 7 Down 19

CelticApache on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:52 am

Negative posts without solutions get the most thumbs up. Positive posts oriented toward Reconciliation get the most thumbs down. Kinda like the Roman Coliseum and the Caesars and blood thirsty crowd wanting the death of a gladiator.

Up 26 Down 8

What about the others? on Aug 13, 2019 at 10:32 am

Why is it that no one ever talks about the non-FN kids that attended these residential schools? I know of many (i'm related to a lot).

Up 7 Down 17

CelticApache on Aug 12, 2019 at 11:44 pm

Growing up in England me and my mates all wanted to be Apaches. We flocked to Western movies. We cheered the Indians and booed the cavalry. The names of the Great chiefs, Geronimo, Cochise, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull were like household words. When danger threatened we shouted out 'Geronimo' at the top of our lungs.
I came to Canada age 22. After 52 years I have two Indian names. I was adopted by a Great Elder, a heritage keeper, the daughter of high chiefs. I listened to the stories, I attended the potlatches and ceremonies. The name and adoption gave me my greatest treasure, an understanding of my true identity as a human being. I began to dream the Indian Way. And i found in my dreams what the Red man found. And my Indian name opened doors into Native cultures from the Northwest Territories to the Pueblos and Navajos of the Southwest. I have lived a red and white life. It was all part of my search for Self realization. I didn't go looking for it, it crossed my path, a gift from the Great Spirit. How wonderful, how amazing. "I'm going to give you an Indian name, sonny, would you like that?"

Up 18 Down 5

Seth Wright on Aug 12, 2019 at 12:58 pm

At - GiveMeMoneyNow - The so-called conflict resolution courses offered in most workplaces are not worth the paper the curriculums were developed on. What would be most beneficial would be the development of a program that would teach personal responsibility, accountability, honesty and integrity and other such elusive qualities.

Whether in government or the private sector these facets of character are in short supply. In our politicians - virtually non-existent - If ethics were oxygen then politicians would be anaerobes.

At - Lynn Kennedy - People do not want to understand your type of thinking. It is difficult and requires a lot of hard soul-searching, question your values, kind of digging to get to. Generally, people have bought the illusion of individuality and have long since retreated to these safe spaces.
White people, a certain class of white people, accepted and embraced their oppression long ago; The roving hoards, the feudal system, the monarchy, the Industrial Revolution, Capitalism, Hyper-Capitalism, post-modernism, politics, and many others.

We have had many interactions of this holocaust and that holocaust; The Irish, the Jews, the Africans, the Serbs, the Indians [east], and there has even been some femicide during the Burning Times [Witch Craze] which saw millions of women and their sympathizers killed - burned alive...

These are but a few and I am certain that many others could add to the list. The trick is not to see racism when it is better described as classism - Then you can begin to sort things out and examine the power structure to see who defines and who benefits from the power structure. Perception is the great deception and this is why people in power work so hard to define things, regulate things, and to shape and control language and therefore, what is thought and talked about.

Up 16 Down 39

lynn kennedy on Aug 12, 2019 at 8:39 am

I cannot fathom the deep degree of ignorance shown by the comments here. I work with First Nations and Inuit people. Learn about inter-generational trauma. Learn about THEM being here on this land first. Learn about the governments directed methods to exterminate the FIRST PEOPLES of Canada. This is not a pity party, this is their reality. Nobody is looking for a handout. We did THEM wrong. 200+ years is a lot to make up for so take the time to learn about subjugation, extermination, forced sterilization, reservations, not suggest these people are looking for a handout. Take your responsibility as a Canadian seriously and don't reflect what you hear south of the border.

Up 29 Down 13

GiveMeMoneyNow on Aug 11, 2019 at 3:45 pm

There are worthwhile courses in Conflict Resolution, particularly in the workplace. This is just Wallowing in Despair for the Next Generation (and the next, and the next, and ... ). What a dreadfully depressing sounding program . There will NEVER be reconciliation, as long as there is free money to be claimed. My grandparents fought the Nazis, and they never went around bleating about compensation and mental anguish for fifty, sixty, seventy years. They just grew a pair and got on with life.

Up 29 Down 11

Groucho d'North on Aug 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm

@All on,
There are numerous examples of continents and nations being discovered and occupied by others and not all of these mergings have been harmonious, in fact violence and death were the norm throughout history. Many people and races throughout history have suffered and endured without continually picking at scabs of their previous trials and wallowing in their misfortune. They have put it in the past and grown and made a new life and culture for themself. They did not give up their existing culture other than to use and enjoy the trappings and benefits a modern and sophisticated civilization provides. Examples may include electricity, medical services, transportation and education. It's convenient to have a boogy many to blame for all your woes, but in time most will come to see that it is nothing more than an excuse.

Up 15 Down 32

Ali on Aug 9, 2019 at 6:41 pm

Oh really? If it had been your grandparents and all of their neighbors who were forced out of their homes by the federal government, if that had happened to your family two generations ago, you'd just say "oh well, let's get over it" and have no strong feelings about it? Come the f**k on.

Up 47 Down 17

JC on Aug 8, 2019 at 8:46 pm

For goodness sakes, it's time to get over this reconciliation nonsense. Time to move on and look to the future. I have just one question, is it possible to have reconciliation without money? I mean, there's been enough apologies already. And by the way, with all the apologies said, I haven't heard one thank you, I forgive, yet. Will there ever be one? If not, then there will never be full reconciliation.

Up 43 Down 16

Just Sayin' on Aug 8, 2019 at 8:16 pm

Perhaps, after all these reconciliation recommendations are instituted, as a society, we can put this behind us and become unified... wait, can you do that with race based laws ? Wait can you do that when the Indigenous feel, I owe them something? Reconciliation while hindering other people whom were never part of this issue, haven't participated in it is not fair. How is this going to affect the Caucasian kids, the Asian kids, oh right, they came here, therefore they must pay yet another tax. Can't wait for the implementation of a reconciliation tax next, in a monetary form.

This is as good as the teachers who graduate from the YNTEP program; at least they learned how to use all the crayons to colour in pictures.

Up 54 Down 22

Einstein’sBetterHalf on Aug 8, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Oh dear . It just never ends does it . Very soon we will have a premium-priced Masters in Forgiveness and Deep Regret , with an additional upgrade option in Just Moving On and Getting a Life . Perfect for an Institute for Grade 13 with Added Day-Care masquerading as a ‘University’ . Pathetic actually .

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