Queen’s University participated in a number of traditions that caused harm to Indigenous communities, and the university failed to educate our students on the long history of deep-rooted conflicts between Canada and Indigenous Peoples. We must acknowledge these failures in order to move forward and change the narrative together. We can, and will, do better.
Former Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force
The national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report in December 2015 on the history and legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential School system. The report includes 94 calls to action focused on redressing the legacy of residential schools and advancing reconciliation. In response, a university-wide task force was established to respond to the TRC calls to action directed at post-secondary institutions and develop a set of proposals that support our Indigenous students, staff, and faculty; enhance academic programs and research related to Indigenous peoples and experiences; and create a welcoming and culturally validating learning environment.
The Queen's Truth and Reconciliation Task Force was established to:
- Prepare a comprehensive inventory of existing Queen’s initiatives that are relevant to the TRC’s calls to action;
- Develop a set of recommendations that respond to the calls to action pertinent to Queen’s, building, as appropriate, on the existing initiatives;
- Make recommendations regarding the integration of Indigenous knowledge into existing courses and programs across Queen’s University;
- Recommend strategies, programs and services at Queen’s University that support the recruitment, admission, transition, retention, and graduation of Aboriginal students;
- Recommend strategies at Queen’s University that support the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal faculty and staff; and
- Recommend initiatives that could be undertaken to enhance the cultural climate at Queen’s University for Aboriginal students, staff, and faculty, including intercultural programming for non-Aboriginal students, staff and faculty.
The Queen's task force’s final report "Yakwanastahentéha | Aankenjigemi | Extending the Rafters" outlines 25 recommendations for sustained institutional change, including strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities; promoting a deeper understanding of Indigenous histories, knowledge systems, and experiences; and creating a campus that values and reflects Indigenous histories and perspectives.
The Final Report
We encourage you to share any updates on the Truth and Reconciliation work that your department or faculty is doing.