First Director of Indigenous Initiatives appointed

First Director of Indigenous Initiatives appointed

By Phil Gaudreau

September 22, 2017


Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) participates in a special Senate meeting marking the 175th anniversary of the first Queen's Senate meeting.

Queen’s University announced today the appointment of Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the inaugural Director of Indigenous Initiatives. The creation of this office was a recommendation of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report. This office will facilitate and coordinate university-wide initiatives in support of the Task Force’s other recommendations.

“I congratulate Jan on this new role, and I look forward to the opportunities for growth and reconciliation we are setting in motion,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This appointment recognizes her deep and long-standing commitment to promoting Indigenous cultures and traditions, including her efforts at Queen’s. Her student-centred approach and passion for teaching and learning are an example to us all.”

As Director of Indigenous Initiatives, reporting to the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion), Ms. Hill will promote an understanding of the histories and perspectives of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, with a particular focus on the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee, on whose traditional lands Queen’s University sits. She will also focus on relationship building, knowledge sharing, guiding and supporting faculties looking to incorporate Indigenous histories and perspectives into curriculum, and support researchers engaging with Indigenous peoples and communities. She begins in her new position on October 2.

“It is indeed an honour to be appointed to this role which will allow me to continue working on many projects I am sincerely and deeply invested in,” says Ms. Hill. “The work of conciliation within Queen’s and with the broader communities, both Indigenous and Settler, is large and challenging but potentially very meaningful undertaking for all involved. I truly believe that relationship building is at the crux of this work and has been the heart of all of the significant efforts that have already taken place to Indigenize our campus and community here at Queen’s.”

Ms. Hill has served as the Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre at Queen’s since 2010, with the centre experiencing significant growth under her leadership. In addition to supporting Indigenous students, she has worked to increase visibility and awareness of Indigenous histories, languages, and cultures across campus, and strengthened the university’s relationships with Indigenous communities.

“This is exciting and important new role, and I very much look forward to working with the incumbent,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice Principal (Academic). “The Director of Indigenous Initiatives will serve as an important voice on campus, helping to further build reciprocal and respectful relationships with our local Indigenous communities and coordinating our sustained progress on all ongoing and future Indigenous initiatives.”

Along with her work at the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, Ms. Hill has been actively involved in facilitating Indigenous initiatives throughout the university, including coordinating the revitalization of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University, supporting the development of the Indigenous Studies Minor, and serving as an integral member of Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force. Ms. Hill is deeply engaged in Indigenous education through many different provincial and national organizations.

A member of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation, Ms. Hill began her academic career as an adjunct faculty member in the Faculty of Education and went on to help establish the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP), serving as academic co-director for the program in 1997-98. Ms. Hill is in the process of completing her Master of Arts in Gender Studies at Queen’s, and previously completed her bachelor of education through Queen’s. You can learn more about Ms. Hill from this Gazette profile.

The search for a new permanent Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre will begin in the near future.