Working with Indigenous Students

Guide for Working with Indigenous Students

Cover of Guide for Working with Indigenous Students

Following the release of the 94 Calls to Action by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC, 2015), Western University approved its first-ever Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP), a document that aims to facilitate a more inclusive and welcoming campus for Indigenous students, faculty, and staff, as well as Indigenous ways of knowing and learning. This Guide is a response to Western’s ISP plan, which clearly outlines the need for faculty and staff to become more culturally-competent when working with Indigenous peoples. This introductory resource will support individuals on campus in better understanding the historical and ongoing systemic factors that shape Indigenous student realities, barriers, and needs in the university context.

The Guide includes an overview of local Indigenous peoples and histories, treaties, land acknowledgements, and terminology; the complexities of Indigeneity; and key barriers and challenges many Indigenous students face in obtaining their education. Most importantly, the Guide challenges the university and its faculty and staff to take responsibility by actively shifting the culture on-campus rather than expecting Indigenous students to acculturate into the dominant university setting. By shifting the narrative, we hope to inspire transformative approaches to Indigenous education that work with Indigenous peoples and ways of knowing in more equitable ways.

This Guide, led by Candace Brunette-Debassige (Faculty of Education) and Chantelle Richmond (Faculty of Social Science), was made possible through the collaborative vision, effort, and support of Western University’s Interdisciplinary Development Initiative (IDI) in Applied Indigenous Scholarship.  Western’s Indigenous Postsecondary Education Council (IPEC) members and other community partners provided valuable input to the development of this Guide.

More information: Applied Indigenous Scholarship

Indigenous Land Acknowledgments Guide

Cover of Indigenous Land Acknowledgment Guide

The Western community also has access to the Indigenous Land Acknowledgments Guide created by the Western Indigenous Initiatives team. This resource includes three versions of Indigenous Land Acknowledgements and offers insight into how the acknowledgements can reflect a deeper commitment to building relationships with Indigenous communities.

"Why do we do land acknowledgements? The Land Acknowledgement pays respect to the Original Peoples of the territory upon which the university is physically located, as well as recognizes the ongoing presence of Indigenous Peoples in educational settings. It is one way we declare the university’s commitment to building on its relationships with and responsibilities to Indigenous communities."