Inviting Indigenous voices into the classroom

Inviting Indigenous voices into the classroom

New funding for faculty seeking to incorporate Indigenous perspectives into student learning.

By Dave Rideout

January 23, 2019


[Clement Chartier, President of the Métis National Council]
Clement Chartier, President of the Métis National Council, speaks at a town hall event during the 2018 Aboriginal Awareness Week at Queen's in March. A new pilot project, the Indigenous Initiatives Visitorship Fund (IIVF), offers financial support to invite Indigenous knowledge keepers, elders, and community representatives to be guest speakers in the classroom. (University Communications)

Queen’s faculty can now apply for funding designed to incorporate more Indigenous voices and perspectives into the classroom. Part of a two-year pilot effort, the new Indigenous Initiatives Visitorship Fund (IIVF) will provide financial support to faculty seeking to invite Indigenous knowledge keepers, elders, and community representatives to be guest speakers.

“Students across disciplines most often learn from books, lectures, and theoretical discussions, but less so from direct sources; from those who their future careers may most impact,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation). “Helping Queen’s faculty to host Indigenous speakers who can shed light on real, lived experiences from within communities, adds new perspectives and nuances that can enhance student learning and advance reconciliation on campus.”

All faculty can apply for one of five yearly grants of $2,000 to cover speaker fees, room and equipment rentals, travel expenses, meals, and tokens of appreciation. The funding does not cover equipment purchases, charitable donations or wages, or expenses in support of individuals attending a visitor’s lecture. A selection committee will assess applications based on suitability of the speaker or event, and the impact the speaker’s visit would have on advancing reconciliation and promoting Indigenous ways of knowing.

“The IIVF will help promote an understanding of Indigenous histories, perspectives, and contemporary issues within the university community,” says Ms. Hill. “It’s about building relationships with Indigenous communities, organizations, and individuals to foster mutually beneficial collaborations that can boost Indigenous education opportunities and research partnerships.

Applications for funding will be accepted once per term, with the Winter Term deadline falling on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, and the Fall Term deadline on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

“Faculty interested in incorporating Indigenous voices into the classroom may not know where to look for applicable speakers,” Kanonhsyonne says. “Our office is available to assist in finding appropriate guests, as we have a number of Indigenous staff members at Queen’s, and expansive networks across local communities and the country.”

For more details on the funding, and how to apply, visit the Indigenous Initiatives Visitorship Fund information form or contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. The Office of Indigenous Initiatives and the Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) will review the IIVF program after the two-year pilot period.

Information on the full complement of Indigenous Support on campus, visit the Inclusive Queen’s website.