Queen’s Celebrates First Indigenous Provost

Mark Green receives a special ribbon shirt.
Mark Green receives a ribbon shirt from Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill).
Mark Green and Principal Deane
Mark Green, left, was honoured at a recent ceremony by members of the Queen's community.

To loud applause from family, friends, and colleagues, Queen’s new Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green, Sc’87, was surprised with a ceremony of celebration in recognition of being the first Indigenous person to assume the role. Hosted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the event welcomed dozens of guests to enjoy Indigenous cuisine, special remarks, and meaningful, gift-giving ceremonies.

“I have the highest respect and admiration for Mark — for his wisdom; his values; his humanity – and I’m confident that our campus community will benefit greatly from having him as provost,” said Principal Deane in his opening remarks. “It is an extraordinarily challenging job but, more than anything, it is fabulously rewarding. The academic, intellectual, and social well-being of the whole campus community are connected deeply to this work, and I know we will all be the better for Mark’s leadership as provost.”

During the festivities, Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), presented Provost Green with a ribbon shirt — an Indigenous garment worn for celebrations — explaining that its calico print represents a connection to Creation, and its purple and white colours represent Haudenosaunee and wampum beads.

“I am overjoyed for Queen’s to welcome its first Indigenous provost; an exciting milestone for the university,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill). “On behalf of the Indigenous community here at Queen’s, I want to express our acknowledgement, support, and recognition for you, Mark. I know that you will do great things in this role because you are thoughtful, intelligent, kind, and caring.”

Knowledge Keeper and Cultural Advisor Allen Doxtator, who opened the event with an Indigenous opening and welcome to territory, then presented Provost Green with a wampum string, signifying the 7 Spans teaching, meant to give him strength and to urge him always to speak from a good mind. The string would also serve as a reminder to ask for help from the community during difficult times.

Provost Green took the podium, expressing deep gratitude to those in attendance for the warm and meaningful welcome.

“In transitioning into my duties as provost, I’ve been meeting with groups across campus, and it’s been a wonderful and enriching experience,” says Provost Green. “My Mohawk name, Rahswhérha, means ‘he builds a bridge’, inspired by the fact that I’ve spent my career in civil engineering. In interacting more widely with our campus community, I have been reflecting upon its broader meaning; that bridges are ultimately about connecting people. These are the bridges I hope to help build in my new role.”

Provost Green accepted the job of Provost and Vice-Principal in November 2019, and began his tenure in March 2020.

This story originally appeared in the Queen’s Gazette.