Starting this month, the university will begin consultations with Indigenous members of the Queen’s community to engage in a reflective dialogue on Indigeneity in pursuit of improving internal practices and advancing truth and reconciliation. This comes from the realization earlier this year that the required rigour associated with Indigenous identity has not been adequately factored into hiring and other internal processes at Queen’s in a consistent manner. In order to meet the real and true needs of Indigenous scholars, students, academics, and communities, a complete review of processes is required to determine why this has not been a consistent priority.

“These are not easy discussions to undertake but are important to help foster a healthy community and relationships at Queen’s,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation). “Our primary goal is that this dialogue is led and driven by Indigenous members to ensure that any action we take comes from decisions we make together. I hope all those invited will participate in this opportunity to engage in respectful, open and honest conversations.”

The process will involve broad-ranging meetings with Indigenous members of the Queen’s community as well as other university stakeholders and Indigenous representatives. Queen’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII) is leading the effort, alongside external consultant First Peoples Group, and will be scheduling meetings throughout November and December 2021. An online feedback mechanism is being created to complement the information being collected through the meetings.  

Indigenous students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community collaborators will directly receive invitations to participate in this dialogue through virtual and in-person channels. The dialogue process is reserved for Indigenous participants only. 

“I am pleased that this work is underway and look forward to hearing from the community on how we can move forward respectfully and meaningfully to ensure our internal processes are fair, just and reflect the needs of Indigenous community members at Queen’s,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “As an institution of higher learning that values truth and respect, it is our intention to be transparent and willing to learn during this process.”

In June 2021, Principal Patrick Deane and Chancellor Murray Sinclair issued a joint statement in response to public concerns over how post-secondary institutions—including Queen’s—approach questions of Indigeneity and identity through official policies and procedures. 

Learn more about the consultation process on the Office of Indigenous Initiatives website.