Wahtkwahnonwera:ton. Hello everyone, I welcome you to this edition of the inclusive community Newsletter. I am honoured to have been asked to be the guest editor this month and would like to take the opportunity to reflect on Indigenization within our community and beyond, especially as we look to the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in August.
I was privileged this month to be asked to participate in the Matariki Indigenous Student Mobility Program (MISMP), held at Dartmouth University. The MISMP is designed to foster global scholarship and community engagement on the understanding of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous knowledge systems. It is a project of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU). MNU is a network of seven universities, including Queen’s.
It was an especially engaging program this year as we paid particular attention to the place of spirituality within Indigenous knowledge systems and within higher education.
I, along with a group of 14-18 primarily Indigenous students as well as faculty and support people including the Matariki Elder from Aotearoa, explored Indigenous protocol, process, knowledge creation, knowledge systems, research methodologies, and engagement through a series of on the land and academic experiences. We developed relationships not only with each other but also with the land and the traditional landholders of the land we travelled, specifically the Abenaki and the Mohegans. We started our journey together as strangers and ended as family.
Our time with these Indigenous peoples informed and grounded the academic work we all did together and brought to mind the value and importance of global engagement and understanding, not only for this group but also for all of us involved in higher education. In my experience and view I become comfortable in my customary ways of doing and being, but see this experience as so important because it encouraged me to question and consider important things like Indigenous research methodologies, knowledge creation, and what is viewed as knowledge, particularly by Indigenous peoples from across the globe.
This experience has expanded my thinking and perceptions and so I appreciate greatly the fact that Queen’s is a part of the MNU. I can only imagine the value added for any faculty, students, or staff members who have the opportunity to engage with our partners and expand their own horizons and I highly encourage it.
I felt it most appropriate to share this story in this edition of the inclusive community newsletter as I feel it reflects and substantiates the value of being open to other ways of being. It is a time to reflect on and embrace diversity, learn from it, expand our view of the world, and encourage equity and inclusion. All of us, together, weave a magnificent blanket of humanity.
Skennen (In peace)
Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill)
Director, Office of Indigenous Initiatives