Disclaimer : We have communicated with Indigenous students and consulted others who are in support of this form of activism. Thank you for participating.
We begin by acknowledging that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq & Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with the surrender of lands and resources but in fact, recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.
We are students at Saint Mary's University with a goal in mind to decolonize our university and the courses that are offered in relation to Indigenous culture, history, beliefs, resilience and worldview. The current courses that we have in regards to the previously mentioned are not taught by Indigenous educators. There are very few educators employed at Saint Mary’s University who are of Indigenous descent.
We feel that by not having Indigenous faculty members to teach us of their own history as well as their present is equated to the ongoing settler colonization that has devastated Indigenous communities all over Turtle Island. Having non-Indigenous educators teach us of Indigenous social issues, culture and way of life is essentially another form of assimilation and colonization.
Furthermore, by having courses that are meant to educate us on Indigenous culture, language, history and worldview yet are not taught by Indigenous scholars, we are being deprived of a true and deeper level of education. What is it that makes us Canadian? How do we connect to this land? What are the processes that affected and continue to affect the Indigenous people of this land?
It is our duty as settlers in recognizing the truth of this land. There are grand issues that need awareness and we believe we must invest in Indigenous led courses. Our Indigenous communities are deserving of respect, acknowledgement and understanding.
Canada has a very dark past that is often not discussed and when it is, there is a very different picture painted than what actually took place. We feel it is absolutely necessary that students are involved in continuing education surrounding these issues and experiences. It is our aim to invest in Indigenous courses through a mandated basic art requirement involving Indigenous studies.
Our goal is to have the University incorporate more representation of Indigenous heritage, history and culture into courses and to have these courses be taught by Indigenous faculty.
We are calling on Saint Mary’s University and asking that due diligence is taken in the decolonization of the university by creating full time teaching positions for Indigenous faculty members and to provide a position of a mandated courses about Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
We welcome and encourage community feedback and input, so please feel free to comment, share and show your support!
Please stand with us in this opportunity to reform and restructure an antiquated model of teaching and support this call for action to Saint Mary's University by signing this petition to incorporate a mandated basic art requirement of Indigenous Studies.
The Reform in Education ; A need for Indigenous Educators at SMU petition to Saint Mary's University was written by Rima Saba and is in the category Education at GoPetition.