Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) retires after three decades at Queen's


Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) retires after three decades at Queen's

Friends and colleagues will gather to celebrate the contributions of retired Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) on June 25.

By Eddie Daniels

June 20, 2024


AVP Janice Hill with Principal Patrick Deane

Retired Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation), Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) with Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane.

A lifelong educator and facilitator of Indigenous knowledge at Queen’s University and within the region, Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) has retired from her position of Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation). The retirement was effective March 2024.

To celebrate her extensive contributions and the important legacy she is leaving, the community will come together June 25 at the Outdoor Indigenous Gathering Space from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those interested in honouring Hill during this event can RSVP at Eventbrite.

“Jan’s impact on Queen’s University can be felt in so many ways,” says Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion) Stephanie Simpson. “Her guidance has led to everything from a shift in pedagogy to dedicated spaces on campus for Indigenous teaching and learning. Jan deserves to be celebrated in a heartfelt way and I know her legacy will graciously inhabit this university, and region for generations to come.”

Since becoming an adjunct faculty member in the Queen’s Faculty of Education in 1988, Hill has provided the university with vital leadership around reconciliation and Indigenization.

She helped establish the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (ITEP) and served as the program’s academic co-director from 1997 to 1998. In 2010, Jan, who received her Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s in 1999, was named the Director of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre at Queen’s. She coordinated the revitalization of the Indigenous Council of Queen’s University, she assisted in the development of the Indigenous Studies Minor, and was a member of Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force.

Hill, a Clan mother of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation at Tyendinaga, began serving as AVP (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) in 2018.

In April, Hill was honoured with a 2024 Indspire Award in Education , a fitting recognition of her life’s work and dedication to Indigenous education. Hill ‘s contributions will ensure Indigenous ways of learning and being are incorporated into the fabric of the Queen’s community.

“It has been my honour to serve my community and to help our culture, language, and ways of knowing thrive when some have worked hard to wipe those fundamental customs from society,” Hill said shortly after learning about the Indspire Award honour. “Knowing that more Indigenous families are growing closer to their heritage and speaking the language, fills me with joy and helps me envision a bright future for those who share Turtle Island.”

Dedicated to educating those in her community, Kanonhsyonne has helped many obtain the sacred link between language and culture. She is a founding member of Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Centre (TTO) in Tyendinaga, which is dedicated to the revitalization of the Mohawk language, culture, and worldviews. In 2018, TTO partnered with Queen’s University, bolstering the institution’s offerings of Indigenous academic programs. Kanonhsyonne taught and coordinated an adult education program in Tyendinaga, and later founded a private high school, Ohahase Education Centre, which is rooted in Haudenosaunee culture. She also co-founded the Kanhiote Library and helped create Haudenosaunee Opportunity for Personal Education (HOPE), an alternative learning program for Mohawk high school students. 

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion) will begin its search for the position of AVP (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) in the upcoming months. For those interested, send any feedback on the search to vpcei@queensu.ca.



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