‘Indigenizing’ the University of the Fraser Valley

Reconciliation efforts underway at local University

Shirley Hardman

The University of the Fraser Valley is doing its part in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action by undergoing a process known as “indigenization.”

The term, a relatively new one on Canadian campuses, supplants “decolonization” as the word of choice to describe efforts to be more welcoming to aboriginal students, while putting indigenous cultures, histories and knowledge at the centre of the curriculum.

Every program – from plumbing to nursing, chemistry to social work – now has an increasingly indigenized focus.

These practices and others were discussed at the recent B.C. Public Post-Secondary Truth and Reconciliation Summit in Vancouver.

UFV’s representative at the event and the school’s senior advisor on indigenous affairs, Shirley Hardman, said education plays an important role in reconciliation efforts.

Hardman, who is from Chxwha:y village in the Sto:lo Nation, said the definitive account in the TRC of residential schools and treatment of indigenous people at the hands of the Canadian government has given school leadership concrete reasons for concentrating on reconciliation.

UFV faculty has consulted with indigenous students, asking them what they expect from the school’s faculty and staff.

“Aboriginal students want their instructors to know and understand aboriginal history and to be able to teach that comfortably in class,” said Hardman.

Instructors have had professional development sessions on such topics as cross-cultural communication, the history of residential schools and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, she said.

This strategy differs from that of the University of Winnipeg, which began requiring undergraduate students to take at least one indigenous studies course. For nursing students, this means learning about aboriginal healing practices, as well as understanding the effect residential schools have had, making some aboriginal people distrustful of institutions such as hospitals.

Just Posted

Abbotsford man charged with two child porn offences

Investigation against Jeremy Allen Willms, 42, began in April

UFV and union headed to labour relations board

Union says it’s facing ‘extraordinary’ challenges

VIDEO: JRfm’s Holiday Fun Day sets up shop again at Langley Events Centre

Great music accompanies family fun as JRfm raises diapers and donations for Basics for Babies.

Auto mall convoy to deliver items to Abbotsford Food Bank

Annual event takes place Saturday, Dec. 16

Andy Sidhu appointed new chancellor at UFV

Third person to take on university role, first established in 2008

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Quarter of students were away sick at Maple Ridge elementary school

Students and teachers at Maple Ridge school away with colds, flu.

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

Frustrated federal workers rally against Phoenix payroll system at B.C. MP’s office

Some employees out tens of thousands of dollars with ‘no end in sight’

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Maple Ridge becomes the mysterious haunt of the X-Files

Stars of sci-fi series show up in Memorial Peace Park

Most Read