Dialogues on Indigeneity at Queen's University

Queen’s University is embarking on a reflective discussion about the issues that the recent reports and letters have raised about our internal processes. We are building a framework to respectfully engage in a campus dialogue around Indigeneity that supports the Queen’s community and also allows for a critical review of our current practices, policies and procedures.

Earlier this fall, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives started working with First Peoples Group, led by Guy Freedman and Lynne Toupin. First Peoples Group has built connections in Kingston, having worked with the City on a reconciliation pathway around the history and legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald.

Together, we are developing an Indigenous-led, Indigenous-facilitated dialogue that will take place over the course of November and December. The recommendations that come from this dialogue will allow the Queen’s community to move forward in a meaningful, collaborative way.

In the coming days, Indigenous students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community collaborators will directly receive invitations to participate in this dialogue through virtual and in-person channels. Please note that the dialogue process is reserved for Indigenous participants only.

Further details and updates will be announced on this page. We remain committed to creating appropriate spaces in which Indigenous members of the Queen’s community can engage in respectful, open, and productive discussions.

If you would like to be kept informed on progress around this work, please submit your email.

Update May 26, 2022

Response to Questions re: Report Release

The Dialogues on Indigeneity are continuing. As a university that values equity and inclusivity, it is our intention to be transparent and open through this process.

Although we initially anticipated the report on these dialogues to be released in May 2022, it is important to the Office of Indigenous Initiatives that the process be as thorough and inclusive as possible. We are taking into account the perspectives shared by Indigenous academics and scholars at the National Indigenous Identity Forum hosted by First Nations University in March, and hope to incorporate their crucial reflections and insights.  

In addition, First Peoples Group has continued to hold conversations with Indigenous students, staff, faculty, Elders, and community partners, and we will announce the release of this comprehensive report at a later date once these dialogues are complete. 

Upon receiving the report, an Indigenous-led team will review it and advise the university’s administration on the implementation of the report’s recommendations.

Update March 18, 2022

We are continuing the important work at Queen’s University of engaging in dialogues on Indigeneity and Indigenous citizenship with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community collaborators.

To date, we have completed 17 group sessions and 13 individual sessions, and will be completing the dialogue process this week. At this time, registration for participating in the dialogue process is closed, and we sincerely thank all those who took the time to share their thoughtful feedback. 

First Peoples Group, the facilitators of these Indigenous-only discussions, is collecting the thoughts and recommendations that result from this consultative process to develop a report that will help our institution move forward in a respectful, productive way. We anticipate being able to publicly announce this report in May 2022.

As we move forward with this work, we remain committed to ensuring the Indigenous community continues to be centered, creating appropriate spaces in which Indigenous members of the Queen’s community can engage in respectful, open, and productive discussion.

Update January 18, 2022

Dialogue sessions have now been scheduled and invitations issued to Indigenous Faculty, Staff, and Students over the months of January and early February. Invitation lists are currently being compiled and dates established for sessions with Indigenous alumni as well as community partners and collaborators. A specific session is being booked with the Indigenous Caucus as well as the FEAS Circle of Advisors. Most invitations include an option to participate in a group session or to book a private 1:1 session with the facilitators. 

Updated communications are currently under development for the webpage as well as an encouragement for any Indigenous faculty members who may have been missed but are interested in participating in an additional dialogue on January 28, 2022 to be in touch with FPG at info@firstpeoplesgroup.com or the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at indigenous.initiatives@queensu.ca 

Update, December 7th, 2021

Engagement Plan Update

The Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII) at Queen’s University and First Peoples Group, an Indigenous-led consulting firm, are working together to organize a series of dialogues with Indigenous participants about the issue of Indigenous identity at Queen’s University. 

These conversations will take place in the form of several in-person and virtual engagement sessions with Indigenous students, staff, faculty, alumni, and with various Indigenous advisory groups at Queen’s and other partners and community collaborators. FPG is currently working closely with the OII to conduct the necessary outreach and extend invitations for these various sessions. An online survey is also being developed to solicit feedback from Indigenous students at Queen’s. 

Two sessions have already taken place: one with the Ontario Council of Universities’ Reference Group on Indigenous Education and one with the Queen’s Elders Advisory Circle. The other dialogues are currently being planned with the various groups of participants (as described above). They will take place between January and March 2022, with an expectation that a final report with recommendations will be delivered in the Spring of 2022. 

These dialogues are Indigenous-led and meant to provide a safe space that affirms Indigenous participants, builds on their knowledge and solicits their ideas and perspectives about the policies, processes and practices needed for vetting claims to Indigeneity particularly in recruitment and hiring practices, engagement with Indigenous communities, and investigating allegations of Indigenous identity fraud.

Additional dialogues will begin in early January and regular updates around schedules will be provided as they become available. If you are Indigenous and are interested in participating in an upcoming session once they are announced, please contact First Peoples Group at info@firstpeoplesgroup.com. The number of spaces for some sessions may be limited, however where and if possible, all requests will be accommodated.