TWU honours National Indigenous History Month
Trinity Western University joins Canadians across the country in honouring National Indigenous History Month in June and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. We seek to hear, understand and acknowledge our shared history with Indigenous peoples and the impact that it continues to have throughout the generations.
University land acknowledgements
We acknowledge that Trinity Western University’s Langley main campus is located on the traditional ancestral unceded territory of the Stó:lō people. TWU’s Richmond campus is located on the traditional ancestral unceded territory of the Musqueam people, and TWU’s Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa is located within the traditional ancestral unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
Gratitude for TWU’s University Siyá:m
Since 2012, TWU has been honoured to have Patricia Victor as our University Siyá:m. Victor is Stó:lō and a member of Xwchíyò:m First Nation, which is part of the traditional ancestral unceded territory of the Stó:lō people.
In the language of the Stó:lō people, Siyá:m describes a leader recognized for wisdom and integrity, who willingly shares knowledge with others. Victor’s role as Siyá:m has four main areas of focus: to raise awareness of Indigenous perspectives among the TWU community and to connect Indigenous ways of knowing and being in teaching and learning; to care for Indigenous students through coaching and mentoring and creating opportunities for holistic wellness supports that are culturally relevant; to cultivate a culture of walking together in a good way with all students, faculty and staff at TWU; and building Indigenous partnerships and relationships beyond TWU’s campuses.
Support for Indigenous students at TWU
At TWU, we desire to see our Indigenous students fully supported academically, spiritually, physically, and culturally. Indigenous students can receive individualized care and mentorship through contacting our University Siya:m Patricia Victor. Caring for students also involves providing educational opportunities for non-Indigenous students who are interested to learn more about Indigenous perspectives and Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Through creating spaces to bring people together, TWU seeks to foster culturally-appreciative ways of being together and of mutual encouragement.
Courses and learning resources at TWU
TWU offers a growing number of university courses relating to Indigenous cultures, worldview, and history. Here below are some examples of the courses and resources available at TWU:
- ANTH 395 - Indigenous Peoples in Canada / SOCI 395 - Indigenous Peoples in Canada
- EDUC 496 - Indigenous Perspective in Education
- ENGL 240 - Indigenous Literatures
- HIST 135 - Globalization, Co-Existence, and Identity
- HIST 340 - Issues in First Nations- Canadian Relations
- HIST 540 - Issues in First Nations - Canadian Relations
- IDIS 201 - Indigenous People of Turtle Island
- POLS 237 - Co-Existence, Genocide, Reconciliation: Indigenous Nationhood and Canada / HIST 237- Co-Existence, Genocide, Reconciliation: Indigenous Nationhood and Canada
- TWU Norma Marion Alloway Library - Indigenous Peoples Research Guide
TWU responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The TWU community seeks to continue walking together in a good way—learning about the shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, living in truth and reconciliation by understanding contemporary injustices, and committing to work towards a better future. In particular, we have responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to actions in several ways:
TRC Response: Community Day of Learning
In response to the Call to Action #80 that says: “We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component,” TWU hosted an inaugural Community Day of Learning on September 30, 2021.
TRC Response: Faith communities
TWU continues to partner with Indigenous churches and church leaders. In June 2021, Rev. Bruce Brown and his wife Adeline Brown spoke at a campus-wide two-day prayer vigil for victims of Indian residential schools. The Browns are Haida and are survivors of Indian residential schools. Rev. Brown and his wife have pastored at Vancouver Native Pentecostal Church for over 30 years.
On September 30, 2021, the keynote speaker for the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was Stó:lō Pastor Andrew Victor, Chief of Xwchíyò:m First Nation. In April 2022, Chief Andrew Victor and his daughter Annelyn Victor participated in TWU’s graduation ceremonies. They opened the baccalaureate service and the graduation ceremony with land acknowledgements and an Indigenous welcome.
TRC Response: Education
Since the change to B.C. K-12 curriculum in 2012, the School of Education has been diligently integrating Indigenous ways of knowing and being into curriculum, content, pedagogy, learning outcomes and assessment in all courses. Local independent Band schools have provided opportunities for students from the School of Education to experience teaching and learning through a Stó:lō worldview by hosting their visits to Indigenous schools.
TRC Response: Health
TWU’s School of Nursing has provided opportunities for students to fulfill their practicums within Stó:lō communities. Starting in 2021, Nursing instructor Kathleen Lounsbury, who is Kwakwaka'wakw, is helping to transform the curriculum and teaching practices at TWU to better integrate Indigenous ways of knowing.
TWU Research: Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives
A group of Trinity Western scholars and external collaborators have established a university research institute called The Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives (IIIP). IIIP aims to provide a forum for greater understanding of a broad range of diversity issues pertaining to Indigenous peoples in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, three countries with similar colonial backgrounds, issues and Aboriginal policies applied in different ways. The IIIP directors are Dr. Matthew Etherington, Dr. Bruce Shelvey and Patricia Victor, University Siyá:m.
TWU Partnerships: Indigenous Partnership Council
TWU’s Indigenous Partnership Council (IPC) engages in activities and discussion that result in:
- Recommendations for developing understanding of Indigenous worldview, cultures, history and perspectives for all TWU faculty, students and staff
- Recommendations to enhance educational experiences of Indigenous students at Trinity Western University
- Recommendations to create a hospitable and culturally relevant, environment for current and future Indigenous students, staff and faculty
The IPC is chaired by the Provost and University Siya:m and includes multiple Indigenous leaders from the local community, Indigenous faculty and staff representatives, and representatives from every academic discipline at Trinity Western.
See also — 215: We Remember
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier global Christian liberal arts university. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.