Sept. 30 — Truth and Reconciliation
Each Monday, as part of our wide consultations as we prepare to develop a Strategic Plan, we pose a challenge to the campus: What If?
Last week, as we celebrated Indigenous Awareness and Education Week, we asked you What If BU became a nationally recognized leader in Truth and Reconciliation? What would that look like and how would we achieve it?
Once again, we were deeply impressed with the thoughtfulness and care that has gone into every response. There is extremely strong support for Reconciliation on campus. Many of you acknowledged that the issues facing Indigenous people in Canada are larger and more long-standing than Brandon University, while also acknowledging the damaging role of education. Yet there was significant (sometimes cautious) optimism about the responsibility that Brandon University has, and the role we can now play in building new connections and strengthening ties between people of all cultures and backgrounds, with special attention paid to the knowledge and traditions of Indigenous peoples.
A common theme was the suggestion that we turn to Indigenous peoples for guidance. And not just for how best to approach Reconciliation, but for community-building, for emotional and cultural support, and for appropriate Earth-friendly practices.
Evident at General Faculty Council earlier this fall, throughout all last week, and again through the responses to this What If question, there is a real desire on campus to continue to push for meaningful progress towards Truth and Reconciliation — with no need to wait for it to be included in the formal plan. Although your answers will help inform how Indigenization will be a part of our forthcoming Strategic Plan, those Reconciliation efforts are ongoing, and will continue. Many of your answers reflected a clear-eyed awareness of the challenges ahead of us, and the emotional toll that the work may take. But it was also clear that progress towards Reconciliation is needed and it is wanted.
Thank you for being a part of this What If. If you missed it, or if you have additional thoughts, you can continue to participate below.