This notice is from the archives of The Notice Board. Information contained in this notice was accurate at the time of publication but may no longer be so.
On each June 21, our country observes National Indigenous Peoples Day — and while the impetus for and sentiment behind this recognition is common throughout the country, the focus of this day takes on even greater significance in a post-secondary setting.
For five centuries, the relationship between North American Indigenous peoples and the European newcomers has been imbalanced, unjust, traumatic and destructive. Reconciliation with this past is real and necessary and through the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Committee Report, a path to finding reconciliation was established. It is here, through education, that many of the TRC’s 94 ‘Calls to Action’ can be initiated. As such, our role in furthering true reconciliation and healing is essential and not taken lightly.
Iniskim/University of Lethbridge and its relationship with Indigenous Peoples is long established. Since 1967 it has been committed to promoting and nurturing the Indigenous student voice, but it too has evolved over time. Over 40 years of working in partnership with the Blackfoot Confederacy and other Indigenous communities has altered the manner in which education is accessed and governed — where Indigenous students do not fit into a traditional model, rather the model is unique in supporting student needs to better ensure success.
The EleV program, introduced in 2019, is the boldest example of this transformation. Designed to create new opportunities for Indigenous, primarily Blackfoot, youth to access education, it is coupled with the needed supports for students to find success, resulting in employment, economic inclusion and economic development opportunities within their home communities. Its model is to break barriers and ensure a program that is structured to meet the unique needs of Blackfoot youth and communities — with relationships at the heart of the project. Its activities are focused on the Blackfoot values of kindness, respect, honesty and strength.
Chancellor Charles Weaselhead has championed the notion that education moves people ahead in life and throughout his service to Iniskim, he has built bridges between communities, advanced cultural awareness on campus and established himself as a role model for Indigenous students that there is a place for them here, as students and as leaders.
The fruits of these many initiatives are reflective in the record number of Indigenous students who have enrolled and graduated in recent years — each class growing in size and strength. The lessons they have learned, along with those of their non-Indigenous classmates, will be taken to their communities where they will resonate and enact real change.
Iniskim is taking up the call of the TRC and the commitment is ongoing to create a society grounded in respect for Indigenous ways of living and knowing.
On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, give thought to your role in this journey towards true reconciliation and begin to imagine what can be accomplished when this is achieved.
Mike Mahon, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
The University of Lethbridge is recognizing National Indigenous Peoples Day with several events and activities on June 21 and 22, 2022.
The celebrations start at 11 a.m. with a Round Dance in the University Hall Atrium presented by Iikaisskini Indigenous Services in partnership with the Dhillon School of Business.
Stay in the atrium after the Round Dance for a free BBQ lunch sponsored by the Mastercard program and EleV at Noon.
Then, head to the Agility Innovation Zone (SA 6304) from 1 to 3 p.m. for OKI sign, button and sticker making in collaboration with Agility and Iikaisskini Indigenous Services.
On June 22 at 1 p.m., join us in a beading workshop with Melissa Shouting (BHSc ’19) in the Iikaisskini (Low Horn) Gathering Place (W650) brought to you by the Faculty of Fine Arts, Mootookakio’ssin Research Project and the Art Gallery. Beading kits and refreshments will be provided.
Monica Lockett | firstname.lastname@example.org