National Reconciliation Forum advances institutional change at Canada’s universities

November 10, 2017
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University of Victoria to host in 2018

WINNIPEG – Higher education and Indigenous leaders from across the country reinforced their commitment to action on reconciliation through higher education as the third annual National Building Reconciliation Forum, hosted by the University of Manitoba, wrapped up yesterday in Winnipeg.

“I congratulate the organizers on a successful forum this year,” said Pari Johnston, vice president of policy and public affairs at Universities Canada, who attended the event. “It’s exciting to see the momentum around reconciliation in Canada with universities taking a leading role. This annual forum is an important opportunity for university and Indigenous leaders to share best practices as our members take action on the commitments they’ve made to this critical national effort. ”

At the closing ceremony of the forum, it was announced that the University of Victoria has been selected to host the 2018 forum which will focus on Indigenous language revitalization and economic growth of Indigenous communities.  Just over half of Canadian universities offer Indigenous language courses, and since 2015, there has been a 57 per cent increase in courses taught in which the language of instruction is an Indigenous language.

Spurred by the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the annual forum brings together leaders from universities, colleges and Indigenous communities to create meaningful and lasting institutional change in the higher education sector to advance reconciliation. Working with the local host institution, Universities Canada plays a national coordinating role in the annual events to ensure momentum and follow up.

Building on surveys in 2013 and 2015, a new 2017 Universities Canada member survey shows that universities across the country are prioritizing reconciliation efforts.

  • Almost 70 per cent have or are developing strategic plans for advancing reconciliation
  • Well over two-thirds are working to include Indigenous representation within their governance or leadership structures to ensure Indigenous voices are included in decision-making in a meaningful way
  • Two-thirds are working to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, methods and protocols into research practices and projects and the same number are striving to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms on campus
  • Close to 80 per cent are conducting activities to promote intercultural engagement through cultural activities, events and forums, talking circles, competency or reconciliation training
  • Just over 70 per cent have a partnership with Indigenous communities, Indigenous organizations or Indigenous postsecondary institutions to foster dialogue or reconciliation

Canada’s university leaders  endorsed  in October 2017 seven Inclusive Excellence Principles and Action Plan which complement Universities Canada’s 2015 Principles on Indigenous Education and recognize the vital importance of diversity of identity, thought, experience and perspectives in building an innovative, prosperous and inclusive Canada.


About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Indigenous education

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