Internal Truth and Reconciliation Forum

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pronounced:  (maah-ma-wih aah-soh-day-daan)

 Purpose and Objectives

  • Work together across Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures to inspire deeper relationships and mutual understanding

  • Increase awareness and knowledge of First Nation and Métis protocols for community engagement 

  • Create opportunities to share experiences, positive and negative, contributing to individual and collective healing and learning   

  • Identify university policies, procedures, and practices that present as barriers to reconciliation and decolonization  

  • Empower participants with resources and tools, enabling them to take action on reconciliation and Indigenization in their own lives

 Background

  • This is USask’s third annual Internal Reconciliation Internal Forum.

  • Following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Actions in June 2015, the University of Saskatchewan hosted the first Building Reconciliation National Forum on the Saskatoon campus and at Wanuskewin Heritage Park. This event engaged in thoughtful discussions on how the USask community could move forward on the Calls to Actions and what on-going work needed to be done with universities across Canada to achieve the needed outcomes.

  • In 2017, University of Saskatchewan hosted an Internal Forum that asked faculty, staff, and students to reflect on the work that was happening nationally and locally and consider what was still needed to undertake Indigenization and Reconciliation on campus. A commitment came from this forum to host an Internal Forum each year.

 Themes

  • Educational Policy and Racism 

  • Ethical Space  

  • Indigenous Wellness 

  • ReconciliACTION        

māmowi āsohtētān “Let’s Cross This Together”

In a continued commitment to supporting Indigenization and reconciliation on campus and beyond, the University of Saskatchewan brought together students, staff, faculty and Indigenous leaders to take part in its second annual Building Reconciliation Internal Forum.

The Sept. 18 event, which gathered more than 200 people, was intended as an ideation opportunity where future and current thought-leaders shared their stories, and experiences.

The Building Reconciliation Internal Forum was launched by the U of S in 2017 as a response to the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. In its second iteration, the goal was to take that initial dialogue a step further by inviting attendees to take a larger role in the conversation through smaller interactive, group-focused discussions.

For the majority of the day, attendees divided into four groups. Each group will form conversation circles, which had a distinct theme and a thought leader to guide the discussion. 

  • Circle one—Indigenous student experience
  • Circle two—Ally relationships: Building and sustaining ‘right relations’
  • Circle three—Indigenous perspectives on research
  • Circle four—Meeting reconciliation through anti-racist, anti-oppression education

Speakers at the opening ceremonies included U of S President and Vice-Chancellor Peter Stoicheff, Vice-provost Indigenous Engagement Jacqueline Ottmann, Chief Tammy Cook-Searson of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, and U of S Indigenous Studies Faculty Member Randy Morin.

Speakers at the closing ceremonies included three witesses who participated in the circle discussions. To end the ceremony, Director of Indian Teacher Education Program Chris Scribe introduced dancers and drummers/singers who performed two songs, and then ended the day with a round dance. 

Videos:

Note: the videos above will require Adobe Flash to view.

Faculty, staff and student leaders gathered for a full-day event on March 7 that focused on how the U of S can respond to the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. By showcasing some of the current work taking place at the university, attendees learned high-impact practices in how to incorporate the principles of reconciliation in teaching and learning, research, enhancing the student experience and university governance and administration.

As part of the forum, there was a poster session to showcase the programs, initiatives and research projects happening at the U of S that help to build reconciliation.