A deep and shared commitment to supporting the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) have led McGill University and Vancouver Island University (VIU) to form a unique collaboration to create new opportunities in Indigenous studies.
On Monday, October 15, 2018, Prof. Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal Academic, McGill University, and Dr. Ralph Nilson, President and Vice-Chancellor of VIU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to explore how the universities can work together to further support research and learning in the areas of Indigenous education and Indigenous studies.
“By working together, we can build bridges and learn from our different experiences. McGill shares VIU’s commitment to Indigenous success and to the support and promotion of Indigenous scholarship and pedagogies; I look forward to seeing this important collaboration develop,” said Manfredi.
According to the MOU, a working group consisting of representatives from both universities and Indigenous communities will be formed to discuss how the institutions can best collaborate.
They will explore ideas and initiatives such as:
- the universities’ responsibility inlistening to community direction on post-secondary educational needs and opportunities
- creating faculty, staff and student exchanges
- developingnew, innovative undergraduate programs in Indigenous studies and other disciplines,and new professional education programs, including professional Master’s programs and executive education courses based on community dialogues
- establishing joint research projectsthat are identified and supported by community
- exchanging ideas with communities and the universities on how to best build a university environment where Indigenous students can thrive
- co-sponsoringseminars and academicand community engagedmeetings related to these fields of study and the highlight the benefits of the work with indigenous communities.
“Canadians will not be able to achieve the goals of the TRC working in isolation,” said Nilson.“As well, post-secondary institutions have a clear responsibility tobuild and further the process of reconciliation. We must learn from Indigenous communities. We must work together, sharing our knowledge and experiences and, in doing so, build understanding and heal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples for the betterment of Canada as a whole. Ilook forward to working with McGill to create and foster new activities and initiatives that will support this process.”
The MOU sets out a collaboration period of five years, at which point the institutions will review the progress they have made and decide on how to best move forward to support this important work.
Photo Caption: Prof. Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), McGill University, and Dr. Ralph Nilson, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vancouver Island University, sign a memorandum of understanding outlining their joint commitment to collaborate on a variety of activities and initiatives in the fields of Indigenous Education and Studies.
Photo Credit: Neale McDevitt, McGill University