Western University to host national forum on reconciliation in higher education

Western University is set to host a national forum next year that explores how to better implement reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Canada’s post-secondary system while providing concrete steps that relevant institutions can take.

Scheduled for June, the forum carries the theme “Education for Reconciliation: Rebuilding Stronger and with Intentionality” and will collaborate with Indigenous communities in London, Ont., and the surrounding area.

Education for reconciliation is one of several main topics in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

First published in 2015, one of the calls asks all levels of government to “provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.”

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In a news release shared by Western on Wednesday, Christy R. Bressette, the university’s first vice-provost and associate vice-president of Indigenous Initiatives, said the forum will offer a collaborative way to address “complex intersections of Indigenization, decolonization and reconciliation into institutional practice.”

“We anticipate that the forum will raise critical issues pertaining to Indigeneity in higher education, outline ways of addressing them, and provide concrete steps for postsecondary institutions to undertake,” Bressette added.

Some of those critical issues that need to be addressed for reconciliation to occur “range from Indigenous language revitalization and implementation of Indigenous knowledge frameworks, to supporting governance roles for Indigenous peoples on campus and advancing Indigenous research,” according to Bressette.

On top of local Indigenous communities, the forum will also include a national array of attendees, along with those representing students, faculty and staff at Western.

June’s event will mark the seventh annual Building Reconciliation Forum, which is supported by Universities Canada.

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