Setting the Course
It is an exciting time of the year as students prepare to return to classes. I love being on a post-secondary campus when anticipation builds for the arrival of new students. I think it is particularly exciting for students at 2 of Canada's post-secondary institutions. I had heard of this initiative at University of Winnipeg and Lakehead University before, but was reminded by this recent article. Regardless of their program of studies, new students at both universities will be required to enroll in at least one course with indigenous content. This new initiative will ensure that every future student who graduates from any program will have some knowledge of the history and culture of Indigenous Canadians.
This initiative is a direct result of lobbying by student associations, but is also influenced by the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I agree with faculty quoted in the article, specifically that the Commission's Report pointed out that there is something structurally wrong with the relationship between the majority of Canadians and Indigenous people. I believe that education is the key to re-setting this relationship. I also believe that our post-secondary institutions are, by their very structure and funding models, required to assume a leadership role in this education process.
Image courtesy Queen's University Faculty of Education