Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.

Talking Circles

Provost Rahswahérha Mark Green hosts regular gatherings that bring together Indigenous students, faculty, and staff for networking and support.

Talking Circles have been in existence within Indigenous communities for millennia. It is the method by which members gather in a circle to teach, learn, solve problems, and share. In that same spirit, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Rahswahérha Mark Green has embarked upon a mission to reach out to Queen’s Indigenous community with regularly scheduled Talking Circles.

Held on the fourth Thursday of every month beginning at 5:30 pm, this forum allows Indigenous students, faculty, and staff to gather as a community to support each other. The first meeting took place in January.

“When we bring people together in a safe space and let them know they are supported and truly valued, they will thrive,” Provost Green says. “We have the ability to strengthen the fabric and culture at our university and one of the most important ways in which to do that is through acknowledgment. We are acknowledging that everyone has a place at Queen’s, and we are providing the Indigenous community with an opportunity to share their experiences.”

The Talking Circles initiative is meant to support the Indigenous community at Queen’s and aligns with the recommendations in Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force (TRCTF) report. The TRCTF delivered 25 recommendations to guide the university in not only becoming more welcoming to Indigenous culture, but to also incorporate Indigenous languages and knowledge into the Queen’s ethos.

Talking Circles is but one of the programs borne from the TRCTF’s Extending the Rafters report. Significant advancements in expanding Indigenous initiatives at Queen’s have been made in recent years, including the establishment of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, new programs, training, recruitment, and support services. This work continues to be a priority for the university.

As outlined in the recent TRCTF’s implementation report, there have been advances made at Queen’s in several areas: increases in applications from self-identified Indigenous students (up by two per cent), offers to Indigenous students (up 19 per cent), acceptances from Indigenous students (up 24.4 per cent), increases in the number of Indigenous faculty and staff, and securing more than $2 million in philanthropic funding of Indigenous initiatives in the Stauffer Library, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Arts and Science.

For more information on the Talking Circles, email provost@queensu.ca.