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Response to Collective Indigenous Scholars’ Statement on Identity and Institutional Accountability

A joint statement from Queen’s Provost and Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation).
 

Queen’s takes the issue of Indigenous Identity very seriously, and in fact agrees with many of the challenges facing Indigenous communities outlined in the Collective Indigenous Scholars’ Statement on Identity and Institutional Accountability letter of June 14th, signed by a number of respected national Indigenous scholars.

As the letter acknowledges, “membership in our [Indigenous] communities is not a matter of blood quantum, race, or colonial categories, but in fact is a matter of integrity and reciprocity — a willingness to be in good relation with recognized communities who have long documented histories of existence, and of survivance, resistance, and self-governance.”  We whole-heartedly agree.

As Indigenous members of the Queen’s community, we understand this is a very complex issue and this recent discourse has been both difficult and upsetting.

However, we are concerned with recent allegations raised against some of our Indigenous academics and community members through an anonymous report. We did not simply reject the document, but rather, being privy to authentic personal records, were able to assess and determine that the report had cited erroneous records and ignored important facts.

The determination of who is considered a member of Indigenous community is made by Indigenous community. The individuals in question are accepted and respected members of Indigenous community, accepted by Indigenous leaders, Elders and the Indigenous Council of Queen’s University. Last year, we reflected on our shared responsibilities as part of the Tehontatenentsonterontahkhwa Friendship Wampum Belt that was presented on behalf of the Clan Mothers at Tyendinaga and the Katarokwi Grandmother’s Council. With these responsibilities, we continue to commit to our personal responsibility to nurture good relations with all Indigenous persons and communities, including students, staff, and faculty.

We acknowledge that Indigenous identity is a very complex issue that remains the focus of rigorous and intense debate, particularly as it relates to equity hiring of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) faculty and staff. Queen’s encourages this inquiry and supports the continuation of respectful Indigenous processes that include meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities.

Respectfully,

Rahswahérha Mark F. Green
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)
Queen’s University

Kanonhsyonne Janice C. Hill (Jan)
Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
Office of Indigenous Initiatives
Queen’s University