The Task Force calls on our University to provide financial support for programs that bring Indigenous elders and traditional knowledge-holders to campus.
The Mellon Fund committee launched discussions between relevant stakeholders including Indigenous Studies & Community Engagement Initiative, the Indigenous Studies Program, and the First Peoples' House. There is some uncertainty about what might be possible in the coming year due to COVID-19.
The Faculty of Law had prepared a proposal for a pilot Elder-in-Residence program that was put on hold due to COVID-19 and the attendant impossibility of community visits for outreach purposes.
The Task Force calls on our University to establish an Artists-in-Residence Program that brings to campus Indigenous figures in the arts for short periods of reflection, engagement or teaching, ranging from several weeks to a semester in length.
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.
Two other parts of this call to action have been completed.
The Mellon Fund committee is exploring how it might support the placement of Indigenous art in prominent locations.
Hiring summer research assistants to assist with the creation of a guide to Indigenous art on campus.
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.
One other part of this call to action has been completed.
- From a space and master planning perspective, there are two priorities: 1) double the amount of space available for Indigenous initiatives in alignment with the goal of doubling the Indigenous student presence at McGill 2) Enlarging and improving living spaces is another priority in direct support of this call to action.
- This includes the creation of a home for the Indigenous Studies Program (Mellon Grant) as well as an expanded and reimagined First Peoples' House that addresses cultural, social and service needs of the community. These projects would include spaces for an elder and writer in residence.