ASUS Academics Commission to launch Indigenous research journal

Journal to publish undergraduate Indigenous affairs research, Indigenous artwork

ASUS Academics Commissioner Mitch Thibault, ArtSci ’17.

In an effort to address "holes" in the way ASUS serves students, ASUS Academics Commissioner Mitch Thibault, ArtSci ’17, has formally launched an undergraduate Indigenous Studies research journal.

In an interview with The Journal on Monday, Thibault explained that his focus as ASUS Academics Commissioner has been on engaging students of all identities while enhancing undergraduate research. Launching the ASUS Journal of Indigenous Studies (AJIS) will accomplish both of these goals, Thibault says.

The AJIS policy, which was approved by ASUS in early November, states that the aim of the journal is “to encourage critical discussion of Indigenous affairs, and to give both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students a chance to engage in topics that enhance their academic perspectives.”

AJIS will publish research submitted by undergraduate students, which can take the form of class papers with a focus on Indigenous affairs or thesis projects. As well, independently researched articles will be accepted for publication.

From a visual standpoint, AJIS is intended to be "a space for Indigenous students to submit any kind of artwork or piece that has cultural significance," Thibault said.

Thibault’s own interest in applying a critical lens to Indigenous affairs began after enrolling in a First Nations politics course last year, though he added he’s always taken an interest in equity and social justice.

"It’s important to discuss these issues and their relevance to the reality of our lives … and pair that with research to make it an academic-focused project," he said.

To spearhead the project, the ASUS Academics Commission met with individuals from the Queen’s Native Student Association and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, with a goal of ensuring AJIS will be respectful to people of Indigenous identity.

Thibault described the planned atmosphere as a "safe space for those students to interact with their culture and their history." The AJIS policy prioritizes continued consultation with Indigenous students and groups, to maintain the journal’s integrity and vision.

Applications for AJIS editor-in-chief positions are open currently, with internal student staff hires coming shortly afterwards. Thibault hopes to put out at least one online issue before the end of this semester.

"This past semester there’s been a lot of discussion, especially at Queen’s, about reconciliation and the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission]," Thibault said.

"I think this journal is coming at a good time to focus more on reconciliation, and on how students of all identities can create safe spaces for reconciliation."

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