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    News Release - Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Task Force delivers final report and recommendations

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    KINGSTON – On March 21, The Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Task Force delivered its final report with recommendations on measures the university can undertake to meet the calls to action in the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The Queen’s report represents a significant milestone for the university and the local Indigenous communities, signalling a broad and sustained effort to build and improve relations, and to effect meaningful institutional change.

    “Today, our communities come together to change course,” said Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf at a reception celebrating the release of the report. “By taking steps to ensure that Indigenous histories are shared, by recognizing that we can all benefit from Indigenous knowledge, and by creating culturally validating learning environments, we can begin to reduce barriers to education and create a more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse university.”

    The task force issued 25 recommendations in six key categories. Included in the recommendations were new bridging and pathway programs to increase post-secondary access for Indigenous youth, as well as efforts to ensure Indigenous candidates are represented in administrative roles, and the creation of culturally validating spaces that recognize and honour Queen’s location on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee People.

    The report also calls on Queen’s to raise awareness of Indigenous-focused research occurring on campus and the inclusion of “significant and meaningful” Indigenous content in the classroom – so that graduating students gain a basic understanding of Indigenous knowledge systems relevant to their discipline. Finally, the report calls on Queen’s to ensure staff, faculty and students receive appropriate training to understand the complex histories and modern realities faced by Indigenous Peoples.

    In his address following the presentation of the report, Principal Woolf reiterated his commitment to fulfilling the recommendations. To illustrate that commitment, Principal Woolf announced the creation of an Office of Indigenous Initiatives – a key recommendation in the report – expected in the coming months.

    “This is just one of the task force’s many recommendations that I am committed to implementing across campus, and because I believe that we are stronger together, I welcome the rest of the Queen’s community to join me in that commitment,” he said.

    The celebration of the release brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members and showcased the importance of ceremony in Indigenous customs. The evening began with a traditional Mohawk opening, and presentations by Elder Marlene Brant Castellano and student Lauren Winkler. The evening concluded with an Anishinaabe Honour Song performed by the Four Directions Women Singers and a Haudenosaunee Round Dance, led by performers from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

    “We are making history,” said Dr. Brant Castellano, a Queen’s alumna and pioneer and champion of Indigenous rights and education. “In creating the task force, Queen’s has stepped up to ask of itself: What can we do to advance reconciliation? … The task force has brought together voices from the Queen’s community saying: We can do this. We have a responsibility to do this.”

    Principal Woolf previously stated his commitment to the TRC recommendations on March 7 in a special Senate meeting, where he acknowledged “Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous People.”

    The TRC Task Force’s final report outlines recommendations and timelines for implementation – in particular, the formation of an implementation team that will work with faculties, schools, and shared service units to expedite recommendations. The task force asks for five-year plans from the faculties, schools, and other units to be completed by fall 2017.

    The full text of the report is available on the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) website.


    About Queen's University

    Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines. Queen’s University is a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. ​For more information, please visit queensu.ca.

    Queen’s University is situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Peoples.

    Chris Armes
    Communications Officer, Media Relations
    613-533-6000 x77513