One of Canada’s most respected Indigenous academic leaders, Dr. Leroy Little Bear (BA ’72, DASc ’04), has been appointed Vice-Provost, Iniskim Indigenous Relations.
The key portfolio signifies ULethbridge’s commitment to meaningfully implement the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and is entrusted with ensuring the University is a safe and welcoming community for Indigenous students, staff, faculty and community members and that programs, strategies, and initiatives reflect an institutional commitment to incorporating Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and ways of knowing.
The Vice-Provost, Iniskim Indigenous Relations position replaces a combination of previous roles on campus.
“It is essential we continue to build and nurture positive relationships with Indigenous communities and foster an environment that is supportive, inclusive and engaging for faculty, staff and students,” says Dr. Mike Mahon, ULethbridge president and vice-chancellor. “We are Insikim, and from the day our university was born, we have accepted with honour the responsibility of upholding the historic prominence of Blackfoot and all Indigenous peoples. Our commitment to Indigenization and decolonization is unwavering and I’m both confident and thankful Dr. Little Bear will lead us on this continuing journey.”
The Vice-Provost, Iniskim Indigenous Relations position was established in the Office of the Provost & Vice-President (Academic) to lead and facilitate, through collaboration and communication, the development and implementation of a university-wide strategy that promotes reconciliation, advances the commitment to Indigenous engagement and achievement through initiatives, programs, curriculum and research.
Little Bear is currently the University’s Niitsitapi Scholar, acts as senior advisor to University president Mahon and is an adjunct professor in the Dhillon School of Business’ Indigenous Governance and Business Management program.
“I am honoured to accept this role in advancing Indigenization and decolonization throughout the University of Lethbridge and pleased to see this commitment to furthering reconciliation on our campuses and in society through the elevation of this role to the provost team,” says Little Bear. “It has been my goal since we first established Indigenous studies at ULethbridge in 1975 to promote our university to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike and to graduate future leaders for our communities.”
About Dr. Leroy Little Bear
As one of Canada’s most respected Indigenous academic voices, Dr. Leroy Little Bear was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2019, received the University of Lethbridge Ingrid Speaker Research Medal in 2017, was awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2016 and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Lethbridge and the University of Northern British Columbia. He is also an honorary Eminent Scholar at Red Crow Community College. Little Bear holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Utah, a BA from the University of Lethbridge, and an Associate Arts Degree in Forestry from Wenatchee Valley College.
Little Bear has been a mentor and consultant on Indigenous matters at local, provincial, national and international levels, and helped establish the Native American Studies program at the U of L. His writings and work have greatly influenced legal and policy realms including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the re-establishment of the Blackfoot Confederacy and the First Nations Buffalo Treaty. He is the author of several esteemed publications and was the first Indigenous person to be quoted by the Supreme Court of Canada. Little Bear was born and raised on the Blood Reserve (Kainai First Nation) west of Lethbridge.
NOTE: Photo courtesy of Alberta Order of Excellence
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Trevor Kenney, News & Information Manager