2. Physical Representation and Symbolic Recognition - Completed

18. Hochelaga Rock (immediate term)

The Task Force calls on our University to complete the relocation of the Hochelaga Rock on the lower campus by developing a plan for the landscaping of the new site, which will be developed in consultation with local Indigenous communities.

The Hochelaga Rock is an enduring historical marker of Indigenous history and settler-Indigenous people’s interactions on the island of Montreal and its hinterland. The Rock marks the historical ties and use of the land by Indigenous peoples.

Progress

  • Relocation is complete. It was moved to a more prominent site on the lower campus of McGill in the summer of 2016. The Provost’s Task Force was publicly launched with a ceremony at this site on September 22, 2016. On June 21, 2017, National Aboriginal Day, there was a ceremony at the Hochelaga Rock to mark the submission of the Task Force Final Report on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education.
  • Click here to read about the ongoing parts of this Call to Action. 

19. Acknowledgement of Traditional Territory (immediate term)

The Task Force calls on our University to implement a University-wide policy that:

  • Acknowledges the traditional territory on which McGill University is located;
  • Consults directly with Indigenous communities in preparing and articulating this statement; and
  • Establishes and sets out, in a clear and transparent way, when the territory statement is to be used in University activities, events and publications.

The Task Force further recommends that the territory statement articulated by the Joint Board Senate Committee on Equity’s Subcommittee on First Peoples (Subcommittee) be used as the baseline for the development of this policy. The Subcommittee’s statement reads: “We would like to acknowledge that McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.”

Progress

  • While an official Land Acknowledgement has been adopted, some revisions are currently under consideration through the Indigenous Initiatives unit.

21. Varsity Teams and the McGill Name (immediate term)

The Redmen team name was raised repeatedly in our meetings – in Open Forums held on the downtown and Macdonald campuses, in meetings with Indigenous students, faculty and staff, and in discussions with a wide range of other members of the McGill community.  Our community questioned seriously the credibility of the University’s efforts in relation to Indigeneity given the pejorative connotation of our men’s varsity team name.

With a view to positioning McGill as a leader in post-TRC Canada, and in view of perspectives shared within the McGill community, the Task Force calls on our University to begin a process of consultation inside McGill, and with other relevant external organizations and communities, with the goal of renaming McGill male varsity teams. This consultation should engage all parts of the McGill community, communicate the community-building value of selecting a new team name, and recognize the contributions of student-athletes, past and present, to the University. The consultation will be guided 11 by the pressing importance for the future of moving forward under a McGill team name that breaks with the associations that ‘Redmen’ evokes in contemporary society.  

Progress

  • The men's varsity team name was officially changed on 12 April 2019.

26. Indigeneity and Public Spaces at McGill (medium term)

The Task Force calls on our University to establish a dedicated fund to be used:

  • for the purchase of Indigenous art and artifacts which will be added to McGill’s permanent collection;
  • to support exhibitions of Indigenous art; and
  • to ensure that McGill’s public spaces reflect McGill’s commitment to Indigenous education through the display of Indigenous art and culture on our two campuses. Moreover, following discussion with Facilities and Campus and Space Planning, the Task Force has identified the reconstruction of Leacock Terrace as an immediate opportunity to embed Indigenous themes in our public spaces.

Progress

  • The Master Plan, created by the Campus Planning Development Office, acknowledged the importance of and identified locations for public Indigenous art on campus.
  • The walls of the ground floor of New Chancellor Day Hall are adorned with exclusively Indigenous art. The Faculty of Arts also participated in the Red Dress project, hanging a red dress in the Atrium from Feb. 7 - Mar. 15, 2019. 

Next Steps

  • Dedicating physical space on campus for Indigenous community members and continued efforts to integrate Indigeneity into existing physical spaces.

27. Cultural and Living Spaces for Indigenous Members of the McGill Community (immediate)

The Task Force calls on our University to provide suitable cultural space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty, and suitable living and study space for Indigenous students by:

  • recognizing and respecting the specific, diverse cultural practices of Indigenous persons on campus, such as smudging, or the preparation of culturally-based meals;
  • recognizing the particular needs of some students, such as living spaces that can accommodate a student’s immediate family;
  • providing space that can serve the community needs of Indigenous members of our community;
  • providing suitable and culturally-relevant study space for Indigenous students, as well as appropriate educational support such as tutoring, and mentoring, health and social-psychological support, and technical support (e.g., computers, IT, etc.);
  • enlarging and improving dedicated living space for Indigenous students who come to McGill by identifying suitable facilities, on or off campus, that can be used for this purpose
  • consulting with other universities in the city of Montreal with regard to sharing space, particularly living space, for Indigenous students; and
  • ensuring that the provision of space dedicated to Indigenous persons and groups is integrated into all aspects of University planning, including plans for the Royal Victoria Hospital site.

Progress

  • Although not all completed, the Campus Planning Development Office, in their Master Plan, recognized the important role that the First Peoples' House plays on campus and established orientations for providing cultural space for the Indigenous community including study, teaching and living. 
  • Read about the part of this Call to Action that is still pending here
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