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TRC task force releases preliminary report

The Queen’s University task force assigned to respond to calls to action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada has released its preliminary report, detailing the consultation and information-gathering process and the longer-term plan moving forward. 

[TRC Task Force preliminary report]
ATEP Program Assistant Paul Carl takes part in the drumming circle marking the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report on Dec. 15, 2015. The event was hosted at Duncan McArthur Hall. (University Communications)

“The TRC final report marked a significant juncture in Canada’s history, and responding to the calls to action directed toward the post-secondary sector, as well as contributing to the ongoing process of reconciliation, is a priority for Queen’s,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We want the process and final recommendations to be as comprehensive as possible, and this preliminary report is a step toward achieving that goal.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force at Queen’s formed following the release of the TRC report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future, in December 2015. Made up of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal administrative leaders, faculty and staff members, students, and Aboriginal community representatives, the task force met several times during spring 2016 to survey current offerings on campus, to prepare themes and questions for discussion, and to map out the consultation phase scheduled for fall 2016.

“We want the process and final recommendations to be as comprehensive as possible, and this preliminary report is a step toward achieving that goal.”
– Principal Daniel Woolf

“Across campus, there is a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication with respect to this process, and to ensuring it addresses, in a meaningful way, all of the calls to action directed at post-secondary institutions,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), who co-chairs the task force along with Mark Green, Professor and Associate Head, Civil Engineering. “We also want to go beyond those calls and thoughtfully contribute to reconciliation in a much larger and integrated way.”

The task force has been asked to consider the broader implications of the TRC report, and how Queen’s can further support Aboriginal students, staff, and faculty; enhance and increase academic programs and research related to Indigenous peoples and experience; and create a welcoming environment.

The preliminary report provides a compendium of existing initiatives that were designed with the intention of supporting Aboriginal students, creating an inclusive community, and promoting awareness of Indigenous histories, perspectives, and knowledge. The list is not exhaustive, nor does it address any gaps that may exist. The list will be expanded as the task force moves through the consultation phase.

“A central component of the task force’s work will be to identify areas of strength and effective practices, as well as areas in need of improvement,” the report says. “This work will be informed by exploring the lived experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, faculty, and staff at Queen’s, as well as best practices found within the higher education sector.”

Dates for consultation will be set for the fall. The task force is committed to engaging extensively with, among others, Queen’s students, faculties, Student Affairs, Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, and local communities. The task force will also provide opportunity for feedback in private and confidential settings, and welcomes written submissions to trctaskforce@queensu.ca and regular mail.

Following the consultation phase, the task force will prepare a final report, informed by the engagement with the community. The task force anticipates that the final report will be submitted to the provost and principal in February 2017.

More information, and the preliminary report, is available from the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic).