At UNB, the work we do transforms the potential of New Brunswick and its people. The unresolved relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people limits us from reaching our full potential as a society.
The national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has called for a bridging of the educational attainment gap within one generation, and such a call resonates with us as leaders in education.
As leaders, UNB is in a privileged position to promote Indigenous culture – not only on our campuses, but to influence the communities around us. We are pleased to share with you UNB’s TRC Strategic Action Plan, drafted in consultation with key stakeholders throughout our communities. It identifies short- to long-term priorities for rightful recognition of Indigenous peoples and cultures on our campuses, which themselves lie on traditional Wolastoqey lands.
We urge all members of the UNB community to take a few minutes to review the plan.
The first two initiatives outlined in this 10-point plan – establishing an Indigenous Advisory Council and appointing an Indigenous Lead to propel initiatives forward – are underway as we look to these individuals to guide us in this important work.
We are striking a search committee for the hiring of an Indigenous Lead. George MacLean, Vice-President Academic (Fredericton), has been appointed by the President as committee chair. Also on the search committee will be: Imelda Perley, UNB Elder in Residence; David Perley, Director, Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre and co-chair of the TRC Task Force; Shelley Francis, Director, Indigenous Nursing Program and co-chair TRC Task Force; one student from each campus as nominated by UNBSU and UNBSRC; one representative from the Three Nations Education Group; one representative from First Nations Education Initiative; one faculty representative from each campus, appointed by the President.
The Indigenous Lead will work with the soon-to-be appointed advisory council and members of the UNB community on the remainder of the initiatives, which include:
- The expansion of Indigenous content in our curriculum;
- The enhancement of our recruitment of Indigenous students, faculty and staff;
- Ensuring experiential education opportunities are accessible and promoted to Indigenous students, and work to create opportunities in First Nations communities for all of our students;
- Measures to incorporate more Indigenous culture on our campuses.
Elder Perley views UNB’s Indigenous Reconciliation Strategic Action Plan as a Sacred Bundle. Sacred Bundles represent a path with responsibilities, obligations and guidance for action.
We are committed to deepening our relationship with our Indigenous communities, and are grateful to them for sharing their knowledge and experience in a spirit of reconciliation.
There is an evocative Wolastoqey word, piluwitahasuwawsuwakon, that means “allowing your thinking to change so that action will follow in a good way toward truth.” As we move ahead, we will be consulting with our university community to find a way to do better, to change, and to seek truth.
H.E.A. (Eddy) Campbell
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of New Brunswick
Imelda Perley – Opolahsomuwehs
University of New Brunswick