Queen’s Truth & Reconciliation Task Force Report

The Queen’s task force formed in April 2016 to begin the work of responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report on the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system for Aboriginal children. Composed of Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, staff, students, senior administrators, and community members, the task force considered how to meaningfully respond to the TRC’s calls to action.

In addition, the task force explored how the university can play an active role in addressing the broader themes of the TRC report, including relationship-building, changing perspectives and policy, and promoting an awareness of the rights, histories, and contemporary issues of Indigenous Peoples.

The final report is titled in three languages:

Yakwanastahentéha (Mohawk)
Aankenjigemi (Ojibway)
Extending the Rafters (English)

Queen's TRC Recommendations

In the final report, and in addition to the creation of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, the task force calls for, among other things:

  • Continued efforts to develop and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities in the Kingston region.

  • Proactive efforts to ensure that selection and nomination processes of candidates for senior administration positions and governance bodies do not unintentionally limit Indigenous candidates from consideration.

  • The expansion of advancement strategies to increase philanthropic funding for Indigenous initiatives, as well as the development of partnerships to proactively advocate and engage with government for system-wide programs and policies that support Indigenous students.

  • The creation of culturally validating spaces by incorporating Indigenous art and languages into public spaces and signage, planting traditional Indigenous plants to honour the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Peoples, and the creation of Indigenous spaces for ceremonies and events.

  • The creation of new bridging and pathway programs to increase access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth, as well as expanded recruitment and outreach initiatives into Indigenous communities. Faculties are to ensure an Aboriginal admission policy is developed to improve access in all undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

  • More work to increase the number of Indigenous staff and faculty, as well as to explore ways in which to recognize traditional knowledge as a valid means of scholarly achievement in hiring practices.

  • Raising awareness of Indigenous-focused research occurring on campus and ensuring the necessary supports are in place to allow research in these fields to flourish.

  • Every program offered at Queen’s to include significant and meaningful Indigenous content, so that graduating students gain a basic understanding of Indigenous knowledge systems relevant to their discipline.

  • All students to receive appropriate cultural awareness training to understand the complex histories and modern realities faced by Indigenous Peoples. Additional training and resources for faculty members are required to ensure instructors are comfortable promoting dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students on Indigenous issues.

  • The incorporation of Indigenous ceremonies and practices into university events will also serve to foster a sense of inclusion for Indigenous students and increase awareness of Indigenous practices among non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty.

Read the full report