Justice for Colten Open Letter from Indigenous Faculty and Allies

Open Letter to University Presidents from Indigenous Faculty Members and Allies

 

February 11th, 2018

To Presidents of Canadian post-secondary institutions,

We the undersigned extend this letter to Universities Canada (especially to the presidents of the institutions they represent), urging  your commitment and support in the wake of the trial of Gerald Stanley. We call upon you to take appropriate measures to ensure that Indigenous students, faculty and staff are safe now and in the future. Such measures include increasing the antiracist and decolonial education of all faculty, staff and students in all areas of professional change. This urgent need has also been noted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the United Nation Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and several justice inquiries.

Gerald Stanley was charged with 2nd degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation. The jury, selected by the Crown and Defense and comprised entirely of visibly non-Indigenous people, acquitted Stanley of all charges, leaving no one accountable for Mr. Boushie’s death. The judicial process in this case, and subsequent decision to acquit Gerald Stanley is a travesty of justice.

The events leading up to the trial, the trial itself, and the subsequent public responses have only served to confirm what we as Indigenous faculty already know — that in the eyes of Canada, Indigenous lives are worth less than non-Indigenous lives and less than personal property. It is very clear as well that without a jury of our peers the current judicial system is stacked against us.

This is yet another iteration of the systemic violence that Indigenous peoples in this country have faced for over 150 years. For many of us, this case has highlighted the challenges of working towards change from within the institutions that have looked upon our deaths with impunity, both historically and in the present. We see here that Canadian institutions are still not adequately equipped to provide Indigenous peoples with fair, equitable experiences comparable to those of the broader public.

Our students, our selves, our relations and our communities have been impacted (and some traumatized) by these judicial processes, which speak to the deeply rooted assumptions and biases that Canada holds towards us. These biases and assumptions are not just on an individual level, but are systemic and thereby institutionalized. They exist in everyday interactions, language, policy, strategic planning priorities, funding, and other practices.  

In the current era of reform called ‘reconciliation’ we are holding our respective educational institutions to task. We expect post-secondary institution leadership to respond to the Stanley verdict, to address the impact it has on Indigenous  students and campus communities, and to be prepared to address systemic and structural racism within its educational systems and practices.

We, the undersigned, call on you as presidents and heads of your respective institutions to urge your leadership, faculty and staff  to undertake a meaningful and in-depth review of your institution’s relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities by:

 

  1. Supporting Indigenous peoples during and beyond this time of deep pain, grief and rage

The death of Mr. Boushie and the subsequent trial have been traumatizing for his family, the youth who were with him at the time of his death, and Indigenous communities across Canada. The institutional failure to provide justice as well as the racist and hate-filled responses by many non-Indigenous Canadians have left many of us concerned about the safety of students, faculty and staff who identify as Indigenous and how this climate will manifest in the campus environment. We are also deeply concerned about the social and political climate that will continue to be faced by our children and future generations. We call on the leadership within your institutions to support Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and administrators during and beyond this difficult time.

 

2. Identifying systemic barriers and taking actions to enhance institutional accountability towards Indigenous peoples and communities

Institutional commitments to Indigenization and reconciliation cannot be achieved through the reconciliation of Indigenous experiences with those of the Canadian population when that society continues to demonstrate a marked lack of respect and concern for Indigenous lives. The establishment of relationships of peaceful co-existence and the protection of land and culture, envisioned in the numbered Treaties, requires deep systemic and structural change to existing institutions. Reconfiguring Indigenous peoples’ experiences within these institutions requires a commitment to supporting the revitalization of Indigenous systems of law, governance, education, pedagogies, spirituality, and ways of living in relationship with other living beings. It also means respecting and supporting Indigenous self-determination and the right to tell our own stories as upheld by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Article 31).

 

3. Supporting anti-oppressive education

Shift curriculum, policy, practice and research focuses so that it is meaningful and recognizes and validates Indigenous knowledge systems and pedagogies.  This means rejecting the tokenization of  Indigenous peoples or supporting “one off” diversity initiatives that promote narratives of multiculturalism or those that romanticize our cultures.  For our lives and the lives of queer people, and other people of colour to be respected and safe we need structural and institutional commitment to understandings of history and struggle in relation to and with each other. This must include required critical anti-racist and anti-colonial graduate and undergraduate courses in all the human services professions, including support for scholarships and fellowships that will signal institutional commitment.



Please add your name and affiliation by completing the endorsement form at the bottom of this page:

 

Lori Campbell, Cree-Métis

Director, Indigenous Initiatives

University of Waterloo

 

Alex Wilson, Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Professor

Department of Educational Foundations

University of Saskatchewan

 

Sherry Farrell Racette (Metis/Timiskaming Algonquin)

Associate Professor

Department of Visual Arts, MAP

University of Regina

 

Verna St Denis (Cree and Metis)

Professor

Department of Educational Foundations

University of Saskatchewan

 

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

Associate Professor

Political Science

University of Victoria

 

Gina Starblanket, Star Blanket Cree Nation

Assistant Professor

Native Studies / Women’s and Gender Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Marie Battiste, Potlotek First Nation

Professor

Educational Foundations

College of Education

University of Saskatchewan

 

Winona Wheeler, Fisher River Cree Nation, Treaty 5 Territory

Associate Professor

Indigenous Studies

College of Arts & Sciences

University of Saskatchewan

Audra Simpson, Kahnawake

Professor

Department of Anthropology

Columbia University

 

Leonie Pihama,

Associate Professor, Director Te Kotahi Research Institute

University of Waikato

Hamilton, New Zealand

 

Sarah Hunt, Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka’wakw)

Assistant Professor

Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies

University of British Columbia

 

Réal Carrière, Cumberland House

Lecturer

Political Studies

University of Saskatchewan

 

Sandy Grande

Professor

Education

Connecticut College

New London, CT 06320

 

Chantal Fiola, Métis Nation

Assistant Professor

Urban and Inner-City Studies

University of Winnipeg

 

Dallas Hunt, Cree (Wapisewsipi)

Lecturer

Native Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Raven Sinclair, George Gordon First Nation

Associate Professor

Faculty of Social Work

University of Regina (Saskatoon)

 

Marlyn Bennett, Sandy Bay First Nation

Assistant Professor

Masters of Social Work Based in Indigenous Knowledges

Faculty of Social Work

University of Manitoba

 

Robert Innes (Cowessess First Nation)

Associate Professor

Department of Indigenous Studies

University of Saskatchewan

 

Shawn Wilson, Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Director of Research

Gnibi Wandarann

Southern Cross University, Australia

 

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Michi Saagiig Nishnaabekwe

Distinguished Visiting Professor

Ryerson University

 

Rebecca Sockbeson, Penobscot Indian Nation & Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation

Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies

Acting Coordinator, Indigenous Peoples Education (IPE) Graduate Specialization

University of Alberta

 

Karla Jessen Williamson, Inuk

Assistant Professor

Department of Educational Foundations

University of Saskatchewan

 

Evelyn Steinhauer, Saddle Lake Cree Nation

Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies (IPE)

Director, Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP)

University of Alberta

 

Reginald Cardinal, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation

Assistant Dean

Faculty of Native Studies

University of Alberta

 

Dwayne Donald, Papaschase Cree

Associate Professor

Faculty of Education

University of Alberta



Kim TallBear

Canada Research Chair

Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and

Environment

Faculty of Native Studies

University of Alberta

 

Noella Steinhauer, Saddle Lake Cree Nation

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Education

University of Alberta

 

Patsy Steinhauer, Saddle Lake Cree Nation

Assistant Professor

Faculty of Education

University of Alberta

 

Susan M. Hill, Six Nations of the Grand River

Director/Associate Professor

Centre for Indigenous Studies/History

University of Toronto

 

Lianne Marie Leda Charlie, Northern Tutchone

Instructor, Political Science

Yukon College

 

Gail MacKay, Anishinaabe Metis

Assistant Professor

Department of Curriculum Studies

University of Saskatchewan

 

Sakej Henderson, IPC

Native Law Centre

University of Saskatchewan

 

Mary Jane Logan McCallum, Munsee Delaware

Professor

Department of History

University of Winnipeg

 

Cary Miller, Anishinaabe

Head/Associate Professor

Department of Native Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum

Faculty 

Yellowhead Tribal College

Edmonton

 

Janice Makokis, Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Treaty No 6

Faculty instructor,

Faculty of Extension University of Alberta

 

Daniel Sims, Tsay Keh Dene

Assistant Professor

Augustana Campus

University of Alberta

 

Dale Turner, Teme-Augama Anishinaabe

Associate Professor of Government and of Native American Studies

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH 03755

 

Martin Cannon (Grand River Territory)

Associate Professor

Social Justice Education

OISE/ University of Toronto

 

Lina Sunseri (Oneida Nation of the Thames, Turtle Clan)

Associate Professor

School of Behavioural and Social Sciences

Brescia University College

 

Lana Whiskeyjack

Assistant professor

Faculty of Extension

University of Alberta

 

Robyn Bourgeois (Cree)

Assistant Professor

Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies

Brock University

 

Lois Edge

Instructor, Bachelor of Education

Aurora College - Thebacha Campus

Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

 

Jeannette Sinclair (Sakaw Cree)

Academic Coordinator

Faculty of Education

University of Alberta

 

Jeffrey Paul Ansloos, Fisher River Cree Nation - Treaty 5 Territory

Assistant Professor, Indigenous Mental Health and Social Policy

Applied Psychology and Human Development

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education–University of Toronto

 

James Kuptana, Inuvialuit

Indigenization Strategy Specialist, Learner Success Services

Bow Valley College

Calgary AB

 

Niigaan Sinclair (Anishnaabe)

Department of Indigenous Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Gabrielle Lindstrom (Blackfoot Confederacy), Kainaiwa First Nation

Assistant Professor, Indigenous Studies

Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB.

 

Brenda Gunn (Metis, Manitoba)

Associate Professor, Robson Hall Faculty of Law

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

 

Beverley Jacobs, (Mohawk, Six Nations Grand River Territory)

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law

University of Windsor, Windsor, ON

 

Jan Hare

Associate Dean, Indigenous Education

Associate Professor

University of British Columbia

 

ᐋᐧᐱᒪᐦᐃᐦᐣ

Shannon M Houle

Master’s of Indigenous Languages Student Candidate

University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į

nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills

 

Lindsay Morcom (Algonquin Metis)

Aboriginal Teacher Education Programm Coordinator

Assistant Professor

Queen’s University

 

Malcolm King, PhD, FCAHS

Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation

Professor, Dept. of Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan

Scientific Director, SCPOR - Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research

 

Bonnie Freeman, PhD (Algonquin/Mohawk, Six Nation`s)

Assistant Professor & Chair for Circle of Indigenous Social Work Action

School of Social Work

McMaster University

 

Linda Diffey, Peepeekisis Cree Nation

Coordinator, Indigenous Health Curriculum Development

Max Rady College of Medicine,

University of Manitoba

 

Barry Lavallee MD, CCFP, FCFP, MClSc (Saulteaux/Metis)

Director

Ongomiizwin-Education

Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing

Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Manitoba

 

Treena Delormier (Mohawk, Kahnawake)

Associate Professor, School of Human Nutrition

Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

McGill University

 

Moneca Sinclaire (Opaskwayak Cree Nation)

Associate Postdoctoral Fellow

College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Manitoba

 

Fred J. Shore

Assistant Professor

Department of Native Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Tracey King, Wasauksing First Nation

Indigenous Human Resources Consultant & Instructor

Human Resources Department

Ryerson University

 

Camille Callison

Indigenous Services Librarian

University of Manitoba

 

Harlan Pruden (First Nations Cree)

Ph.D. Student

Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program

University of British Columbia

 

Lila Pine, Mi’kmaq

Saagajiwe Co-director

Faculty of Communication and Design

Ryerson University

 

 

In solidarity  (non Indigenous allies)

 

Jaskiran Dhillon

Assistant Professor, Global Studies and Anthropology

The New School

 

Jacob Mans

Assistant Professor,

School Architecture

University of Minnesota

 

Janet McVittie

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Foundations

University of Saskatchewan

 

Paul Orlowski

Associate Professor

Educational Foundations

College of Education

University of Saskatchewan

 

Lynn Lemisko

Professor

Educational Foundations

College of Education

University of Saskatchewan

 

Karina Hodoyán

Associate Professor

College of Arts & Sciences

University of San Francisco

 

Geraldine Balzer

Assistant Professor

Curriculum Studies

University of Saskatchewan

 

Susan Roy

Associate Professor

Department of History

University of Waterloo

 

Linda Warley

Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

Faculty of Arts

University of Waterloo

 

Sara Carpenter

Assistant Professor

Department of Educational Policy Studies

University of Alberta

 

Marcia McKenzie

Professor

Department of Educational Foundations

University of Saskatchewan

 

Sorouja Moll

Definite Term Lecturer

Department of Drama and Speech Communication

University of Waterloo

 

Jennifer Kelly

Professor

Department of Educational Policy Studies

University of Alberta

 

Shahrzad Mojab

Professor

Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education

University of Toronto

 

Craig A. Campbell

Assistant Professor

Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Program

Department of Learning and Performance Systems

The Pennsylvania State University



Adele Perry, FRSC

Professor, History, and Senior Fellow, St John’ College

University of Manitoba

 

Dianne Miller,

Professor, Educational Foundations

College of Education, University of Saskatchewan

 

Dip Kapoor,

Professor, Theoretical, Cultural & International Studies in Education

Department of Educational Policy Studies

University of Alberta

 

Alexandre Da Costa

Assistant Professor

Department of Educational Policy Studies

University of Alberta

 

Dia Da Costa

Associate Professor

Department of Educational Policy Studies

University of Alberta



Anthony Paré

Professor and Head

Language and Literacy Education

University of British Columbia

 

Anna Lydia Svalastog

Professor of psychosocial work

Department of Health and Social Work

Østfold University College, Norway

 

Steven Jordan

Associate Professor

Department of Integrated Studies in Education

McGill University

Quebec

 

Jamie Magnusson, Associate Professor

Adult Education and Community Development

OISE, University of Toronto

 

Shaun Murphy

Professor

Educational Foundations

College of Education

University of Saskatchewan

 

Jeanie Wills,

Assistant Professor

Graham School of Professional Development,

College of Engineering

University of Saskatchewan

 

Roxanne Harde

Professor of English, Associate Dean (Research)

Augustana Faculty

University of Alberta

 

Aziz Choudry

Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in social movement learning and knowledge production

Integrated Studies in Education

McGill University

 

Rebekah Bennetch

Lecturer

Graham School of Professional Development,

College of Engineering

University of Saskatchewan




Erin Weinberg

Adjunct Professor

Augustana Faculty

University of Alberta



Kathleen James-Cavan

Associate Professor

Department of English

University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5

 

Corey Owen

Assistant Professor, Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development

College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan

 

Brian Rempel

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Augustana Faculty

University of Alberta

 

John Moffatt

Associate Professor

Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development

College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan

 

Sandra Terry

Lecturer

Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development

College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan

 

John Wiebe

Director of Choral Activities

Augustana Faculty

University of Alberta

 

Jodey Castricano,Associate Professor
Department of Critical Studies
University of British Columbia, Okanagan.

 

Fred J. Shore

Assistant Professor

Department of Native Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Donna Martin
Associate Professor
College of Nursing
University of Manitoba

 

Michelle Hartman

Professor

Institute of Islamic Studies

McGill University

 

Marc Spooner

Professor,

Faculty of Education

University of Regina

 

Joseph Wiebe

Assistant Professor

Augustana Faculty

University of Alberta

 

James McNinch,

Professor Emeritus

Faculty of Education

University of Regina

 

Shirley Thompson

Associate professor

Natural Resources Institute

University of Manitoba

 

Darius Stonebanks

Professor, School of Education

Bishop’s University

Philip Howard

Assistant Professor

Integrated Studies in Education

McGill University

 

Abigail B. Bakan

Department of Social Justice Education

OISE

University of Toronto

 

Shawna Ferris

Associate Professor & Program Coordinator

Women’s and Gender Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Peter Kulchyski

Professor

Department of Native Studies

University of Manitoba

 

Crystal Manyfingers

Indigenous Consultant to Curriculum

Humanities and School of Health and Wellness

Bow Valley College, Calgary, AB.

 

John Willinsky

Professor (Part-time)

School of Publishing

Simon Fraser University

 

Jasminka Kalajdzic

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law

University of Windsor

 

Michael Anthony Hart

Professor

Faculty of Social Work

University of Manitoba

 

Gemma Smyth

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law

University of Windsor

 

Anneke Smit

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law

University of Windsor

 

David M Tanovich

Professor

Faculty of Law

University of Windsor

 

Reem Bahdi

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law

University of Windsor

 

Lisa Taylor

Full Professor

School of Education

Bishop’s University

 

Jocelyn Thorpe

Associate Professor

Women’s and Gender Studies, History

University of Manitoba

 

Avril Aitken

Professor & Chair

School of Education

Bishop’s University

 

Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti

Professor

Dept. of Educational Studies

University of British Columbia

 

Sujith Xavier,  

Assistant Professor & Director of Transnational Law and Justice Network

Faculty of Law, University of Windsor

 

Chris Hiller

Adjunct Professor

Peace and Conflict Studies

Conrad Grebel University College

University of Waterloo

 

Elizabeth (Liz) Carlson

Assistant Professor

School of Social Work

Laurentian University

 

Rachel Hurst

Associate Professor

Women’s and Gender Studies

St. Francis Xavier University

 

Annette Schultz

Associate Professor

College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Manitoba

 

Patrick Lewis

Professor

Faculty of Education

University of Regina



Josée G. Lavoie,

Professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences,

University of Manitoba



Benita Cohen

Associate Professor

College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Manitoba

 

Elizabeth McGibbon

Professor

Rankin School of Nursing

St. Francis Xavier University

 

Kim Misfeldt

Professor

Augustana Campus

University of Alberta

Who's endorsing

Amy Mills
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Laurie Kocher
Helen Fielding
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María-Constanza Guzmán
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Carla Lipsig-Mumme Professor of Work and Labour Studies York University
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Showing 2152 reactions

  • Ames Magoo
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-02-18 10:38:43 -0800
    I'm endorsing this call to university presidents to support Indigenous students, faculty, and staff. You should too.
  • Amy Mills
    endorsed via 2018-02-18 10:38:20 -0800
  • Michelle Mills
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-02-18 10:36:29 -0800
    I'm endorsing this call to university presidents to support Indigenous students, faculty, and staff. You should too.
  • Michelle Mills
    endorsed 2018-02-18 10:36:03 -0800
  • Andy Weaver
    endorsed 2018-02-18 10:31:18 -0800
  • Walter Whiteley
    endorsed 2018-02-18 09:52:55 -0800
  • Anna Willats
    endorsed 2018-02-18 09:06:29 -0800
  • Kyle Whyte
    endorsed 2018-02-18 09:05:58 -0800
  • Jan Hadlaw
    endorsed 2018-02-18 08:15:28 -0800
  • Agnes Whitfield
    endorsed 2018-02-18 07:58:51 -0800
  • David T. McNab
    endorsed 2018-02-18 07:57:17 -0800
  • Laurie Kocher
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  • Helen Fielding
    endorsed 2018-02-18 07:41:10 -0800
  • Lisa Sloniowski
    endorsed 2018-02-18 07:17:02 -0800
  • Gene Desfor
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  • Sara McDowell
    endorsed 2018-02-18 06:52:17 -0800
  • Rm Kennedy
    endorsed 2018-02-18 06:28:56 -0800
  • Tania Das Gupta
    endorsed 2018-02-18 06:26:51 -0800
  • Donna Grant
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  • L Anders Sandberg
    endorsed 2018-02-18 05:43:22 -0800
  • Nancy Freymond
    endorsed 2018-02-18 05:41:41 -0800
  • María-Constanza Guzmán
    endorsed 2018-02-18 05:41:35 -0800
  • Robert Latham
    endorsed 2018-02-18 05:21:31 -0800
  • Natasha Myers
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  • Patrick Mahon
    endorsed 2018-02-18 04:56:41 -0800
  • Karen Murray
    endorsed 2018-02-18 04:38:49 -0800
  • Tanya Titchkosky
    endorsed 2018-02-18 04:25:12 -0800
  • Carla Lipsig-Mumme
    Professor of Work and Labour Studies York University endorsed 2018-02-18 04:05:50 -0800
  • Stanley Jeffers
    endorsed 2018-02-18 02:38:33 -0800
  • Deborah Orr
    endorsed 2018-02-18 01:47:51 -0800