A deep and shared commitment to supporting the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) have led McGill and Vancouver Island University (VIU) to form a unique collaboration to create new opportunities in Indigenous studies.
On Monday, Oct. 15, Prof. Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal Academic of McGill, and Dr. Ralph Nilson, President and Vice-Chancellor of VIU, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to explore how the universities can work together to further support research and learning in the areas of Indigenous education and Indigenous studies.
“By working together, we can build bridges and learn from our different experiences,” said Provost Manfredi. “McGill shares VIU’s commitment to Indigenous success and to the support and promotion of Indigenous scholarship and pedagogies; I look forward to seeing this important collaboration develop.”
According to the MOU, a working group consisting of representatives from both universities and Indigenous communities will be formed to discuss how the institutions can best collaborate.
They will explore ideas and initiatives such as:
- the universities’ responsibility in listening to community direction on post-secondary educational needs and opportunities
- creating faculty, staff and student exchanges
- developing new, innovative undergraduate programs in Indigenous studies and other disciplines, and new professional education programs, including professional Master’s programs and executive education courses based on community dialogues
- establishing joint research projects that are identified and supported by community
- exchanging ideas with communities and the universities on how to best build a university environment where Indigenous students can thrive
- co-sponsoring seminars and academic and community engaged meetings related to these fields of study and the highlight the benefits of the work with indigenous communities.
“Canadians will not be able to achieve the goals of the TRC working in isolation,” said Nilson. “As well, post-secondary institutions have a clear responsibility to build and further the process of reconciliation. We must learn from Indigenous communities. We must work together, sharing our knowledge and experiences and, in doing so, build understanding and heal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples for the betterment of Canada as a whole. I look forward to working with McGill to create and foster new activities and initiatives that will support this process.”
The MOU sets out a collaboration period of five years, at which point the institutions will review the progress they have made and decide on how to best move forward to support this important work.