News at the University of New Brunswick

Recognizing National Indigenous History Month

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jun 1, 2021

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John , myUNB

June is National Indigenous History Month. This provides an opportunity to celebrate the first peoples of this land, their histories, leadership and cultures. It is important to honour the historic contributions of the Wabanaki people, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis throughout Canada.

At the University of New Brunswick, we respectfully acknowledge that we are located on the unceded and unsurrendered ancestral homelands of the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq people. The lands of Wabanaki people are recognized in a series of Peace and Friendship Treaties to establish an ongoing relationship of peace, friendship and mutual respect between equal nations.

We acknowledge and reflect upon the devastating news released last Thursday about the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Our hearts and minds go to all the people, families and communities affected by these tragic events and the senseless loss of life. To honour the lives of the 215 children at the former Kamloops Residential School, for all children who never returned, and in honour of the families whose lives have been forever changed, UNB flags have been lowered to half-mast.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Individuals can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

Piluwitahasuwawsuwakon1, which means allowing our thinking to change so that action will follow in a good way toward truth, is a commitment identified within our strategic vision, UNB Toward 2030. This commitment transcends all aspects of the strategic vision.

We acknowledge the significant work that lies ahead on the path to peace, friendship, justice, truth and reconciliation. It is essential that, as a university community, we strive to be a site of change and progress as we develop meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples. This requires recognition and respect of the history, culture, and rights of Wabanaki nations.

This work could not be done without the guidance of Wabanaki and Indigenous leaders at UNB. I am deeply appreciative and grateful for the work of the Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre in supporting the Indigenous community at UNB. Thank-you for sharing your knowledge, wisdom, culture and experience which strengthens the institutional fabric of UNB.

As we celebrate National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, I encourage you to learn more about the Peace and Friendship Treaties from Mi’kmaq Knowledge-Holders and the history of the Wabanaki nations and Indigenous peoples.

Wela'lioq / Woliwon / Thank you,

Paul J. Mazerolle
President and Vice-Chancellor