TWU Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives launches with reconciliation event

Trinity Western University hopes to share a unique perspective on reconciliation at the public launch of the new Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives this Thursday at the Langley campus.

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, the hereditary chief of the Gwawanenuk First Nation, a ceremonial house speaker and a residential-school survivor, has been tapped for the keynote. He’ll speak about faith, love and reconciliation.

“Reconciliation is important to start with,” says Patti Victor, TWU's Siya:m, which is a Sto:lo word that describes a leader recognized for wisdom, integrity and knowledge. “Without it, any other issues that we want to talk about will not be able to move forward.” Victor serves as a key advisor for the Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives as well as the co-director for TWU’s Aboriginal Partnership Council, which began in 2012.

Victor as well as Matthew Etherington, the director of the research institute, hope this event will help attendees examine reconciliation from a biblical perspective and highlight the importance of spirituality.

“With universities promoting a heavy emphasis on generating new knowledge and progressive scientific notions of education and learning, these institutions sometimes struggle with the spiritual component of the indigenous people,” said Etherington. “As a faith-based university, TWU has something unique to contribute to the conversation—I think Trinity understands the importance of the spiritual aspect.”

Future initiatives will involve roundtable discussions where listening and learning will be priorities. “We’re not going to back away from any issue,” says Etherington. “Every issue is open for dialogue.”

The approach of TWU’s Institute of Indigenous Issues and Perspectives is unique in a few ways: One is its focus on New Zealand and Australia as well as Canada. The hope is to gain a broad perspective on what issues are relevant and what tactics have been successful. “Collective answers mean healing and wholeness in all cultures,” Victor said.

The institute will also be inter-disciplinary rather than focus on one field of study, and prioritize not only knowledge, but what Etherington calls a “holistic approach to transformation.” “People don’t change without a heart change,” he said. “This is really about transforming hearts.”

Event details
Launch, Institute of Indigenous Issues and PerspectivesGuest speaker: Chief Dr. Robert Joseph
Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road, Langley
Thursday, October 22, 2015
7 – 8:30 p.m., Northwest Auditorium

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