Truth & Reconciliation Commission Task Force releases third report

According to the report, Queen’s has hired 100 Indigenous staff and faculty members

The report was released in September.

The Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRCTF) released its third annual Implementation Report in September.

According to the report, the University is currently fulfilling each of the 25 recommendations for institutional change outlined in the task force’s 2016 final report.

The University did not respond to The Journal’s request for comment in time for publication.

There are currently 468 Indigenous students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, including 113 Indigenous graduates in 2019 and 100 Indigenous staff and faculty members at Queen’s, according to the report.

“It has been a challenging and difficult year on many fronts,” Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), associate vice-principal (Indigenous initiatives and reconciliation), wrote in the report.

“Indigenous and LGBTQ2S communities on our campus have been faced with ongoing violence and racism. At the same time, we have experienced immense support as evidenced by the Solidarity march and the multitude of statements of support.”

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The task force was established in response to the national TRC’s final report on Canada’s Indian Residential School system released in December 2015. The report included 94 calls to action, including some directed explicitly at post-secondary institutions.

In their work, the task force members aim to answer the TRC’s calls to action, develop proposals to support the Indigenous community at Queen’s, and enhance Indigenous representation in academics and research.

“The time for statements has now passed and we are working towards actions to combat racism and violence, to create a culture of equity and inclusion on our campus,” Hill wrote.

According to the report, there are currently 23 Indigenous students enrolled in the Queen’s Faculty of Law JD program because of expanded recruitment efforts.

For the 2019-20 year, the percentage of applications submitted by self-identified Indigenous students was up by two per cent, the percentage of offers made to Indigenous students was up by 19.4 per cent, and the percentage of acceptances from Indigenous students was up by 24.4 per cent.

New Indigenous faculty members were hired in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Science last year, increasing Indigenous faculty representation.

There are currently 43 faculty members at Queen’s conducting Indigenous research and 16 committees working to advance and support Indigenous initiatives at Queen’s, according to the report.

READ MORE: Truth & Reconciliation Commission publishes second annual report

“It is necessary for this work to continue and for all of us to dig even deeper to unearth systemic inequities within the institutions and governing bodies that we live in to identify pathways towards equity and inclusion,” Hill wrote.

According to the report, priorities for next year involve Indigenous space, Indigenous pathways, learning opportunities, and advancement efforts.

The School of Graduate Studies is considering offering a fast track pathway option for Indigenous students in its Summer Undergraduate Research Program and the Faculty of Arts and Science is hoping to create two new Indigenous positions in its Indigenous Studies programming.

The University is also planning to develop an Indigenous Hub and a space for the Faculty of Arts and Science Indigenous Advisor.

“Each day we all have something to be thankful for so I encourage everyone to consider that as we face these challenges and I also encourage that we all work together for the greater good,” Hill wrote.

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