ASUS petitions for Indigenous land recognition on Queen’s sign

University District

Sign at University & Union requested to acknowledge Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe lands

ASUS Equity Commissioner Laura Anderson in front of the Queen's University sign.

One of campus’ oldest signs could be getting a revamp following the popularity of an online-petition. 

Created on September 27 by ASUS Equity Commissioner Laura Anderson and AMS Indigenous Affairs Deputy Taylor Bluhm, the “Petition to Engrave an Indigenous Land Recognition on the Queen’s University Sign” requests the addition of Indigenous land recognition on the Queen’s University sign. 

Located at University and Union, the sign that currently reads “Queen’s University” is a popular spot for students and visitors on campus to take photos.

Through the petition, Anderson and Bluhm are advocating for the inscription to read “Situated on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe” beneath the existing “Queen’s University” text on the stone.

As of October 2, Anderson’s petition has over 2,500 signatures.

“I believe that the inscription is a key step in setting a precedent for reflection in one of the most high-traffic areas on campus,” Anderson told The Journal via email. 

“When first years come to Queen’s, or when folks come tour the university, I want them to see this sign and feel that they deserve to be in this space, be proud of who they are, and that allies here understand the oppression that has been interwoven into the history of Canada,” she continued. 

Anderson referenced the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s 2017 report as one of the inspirations for her proposal. The TRC report recommended Queen’s to “enhance the visibility of Indigenous communities at Queens and promote inclusive learning in community spaces on campus… including Indigenous language on welcome signs.” 

Anderson believes the land recognition inscription will act as a tangible first step in acknowledging and reconciling the University’s colonial past.

According to Anderson, her role as Equity Commissioner for ASUS further inspired her to create the proposal. 

“As the Equity Commissioner in ASUS, I have the responsibility of making sure that Arts and Science students feel comfortable on campus, and this starts with creating a welcoming space for students who identify [as Indigenous],” she wrote. 

The petition is posted on Change.org, a website that allows for commentary and distribution through social media. 

According to Anderson, it was created to “highlight student and community engagement with this initiative,” and the student engagement statistics will be shared with the University in support of Anderson and Bluhm’s proposal. 

At the University’s first Senate meeting of the year on October 3, Senator Rachel Tung brought the petition to the attention of Senate. Provost Antoine-Benoit Bacon, who had not yet been made aware of the petition by the AMS, said he would be very interested in discussing the request in the future.

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