‘Truth & Reconciliation Commission & Me’: Centre for Teaching & Learning hosts webinar

Faculty committed to integrate more Indigenous history into curriculum

Hundreds of attendees present at webinar.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

In honour of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Queen’s Educators come together on Sept. 30 for the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission & Me” webinar. With over a hundred attendees, the webinar sought to educate Queen’s faculty on how they can respond to the TRC’s call to action.

Lindsay Brant, educational developer (Indigenous curriculum and ways of knowing) with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, led the presentation, speaking to the significance of the day and allyship.

Orange Shirt Day, the foundation for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, was created by Phyllis Webstad, a First Nations residential school survivor. Wearing an orange shirt on Sept. 30 signifies one’s acknowledgement and remembrance of the thousands of Indigenous children forcibly removed from their homes and enrolled in the residential school system.

“For Phyllis, these shirts are a reminder that she does matter and to other indigenous children that they do matter.” Brant said.

Brant continued the presentation by directing the audience’s attention to the TRC’s Calls to Action. She explored proposed reforms to education, health, justice, reconciliation from governments, equity of Indigenous peoples in the legal system, professional training for public servants, business, and media.

Brant shed light on how these steps can be carried out by educators to create meaningful change in Queen’s classrooms.

“As educators, we are leaders of [this] change.” Brant said. “It’s time for non-Indigenous people to learn the truth.” 

“We call upon all levels of government to: i. Increase the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the healthcare field. ii. Ensure the retention of Aboriginal health-care providers in Aboriginal communities. iii. Provide cultural competency training for all healthcare professionals” Brant said as she read out Article 23 of the Calls to Action.

Brant followed this by urging Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences to effectively support their Indigenous students in the pursuit of their careers.

“We need to make this a part of national memory. One may not be ready to see the truth this year, but they might be the next or thereafter,” Brant said.

Brant added that the University of British Columbia has come up with resources for integrating Indigenous history and guides in building inclusive curriculums. According to Brant, this is an initiative that Queen’s has also developed in the Faculty of Education.

Brant further acknowledged the creation of new roles to ensure inclusivity within faculties and increased interest in Indigeneity in fields of research and in the scope of academia. She said it’s “encouraging” and will continue.

“We have made some progress at Queen’s with reconciliation but there’s still a long way to go.”

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