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By University Relations Posted: December 14, 2018 8:00 a.m.

An Eagle Staff--a sacred symbol traditionally presented to a warrior or leader for their service to the community--was presented to U of R President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons (centre) last year by Elder Roy Bison (right) and his son Teddy Bison (left), a student in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance.
An Eagle Staff--a sacred symbol traditionally presented to a warrior or leader for their service to the community--was presented to U of R President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons (centre) last year by Elder Roy Bison (right) and his son Teddy Bison (left), a student in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. Photos: U of R Photography

In releasing its Statement of Commitment in Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC’s) Calls to Action, the University of Regina – with campuses situated on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories – renews its vow to make reconciliation a part of all interactions amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty, and neighbours. 

The Working Group for the University of Regina’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Report was formed in November 2016 and includes faculty members and staff from different units across campus. Providing guidance to the Working Group were elders/knowledge keepers Brenda Dubois, Alma Poitras, and Noel Starblanket. The responses released today are the result of extensive consultations and engagement within the University and with broader communities by the Working Group. 

tipi raising

The U of R’s annual Glen
Anaquod Memorial Tipi
Raising event is named after
the late Glen Anaquod who
was from the Muscowpetung
First Nation in Saskatchewan.
Anaquod was a cultural and
traditional advisor at the
U of R until his passing
in 2011.

A Statement of Commitment in Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action – supported by University of Regina leadership – proclaims the University’s commitment to reconciliation. The accompanying Guide to Implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action at the University of Regina lays out a concrete plan of action that will focus the University’s efforts to work towards reconciliation. 

“When the TRC issued its Final Report, including 94 Calls to Action, it took up the work of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples as well as the survivors and inter-generational survivors of the residential school system who laid bare the adverse impact that colonial policies and practices have had – and continue to have – on Indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor. “Although it may be difficult for many Canadians to accept, this blemish on our colonial past and present is a truth that must be recognized before reconciliation can begin. As a University, we are committed to facing these difficult truths on the road to reconciliation.”

The Statement of Commitment commits the University to five key goals recognizing that every student, staff or faculty member should have the tools necessary for reconciliation and moving towards decolonization by being provided with:

  • Knowledge of treaties, specifically of Treaties 4 and 6;
  • A basic understanding of Canada’s history with and the continuance of colonialism, including of the Indian Residential Schools and the Indian Act;
  • An awareness of Indigenous ways of knowing and how these relate to their program of study;
  • Knowledge of the key elements of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Calls to Action, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and,
  • An understanding of the role they can play in reconciliation based on the knowledge and skills they will have acquired at the University of Regina.

These five key goals respond to14 Calls to Action the TRC Working Group identified as specific to the University and its faculties. 

The accompanying Guide identifies opportunities and makes specific recommendations that will help the University achieve these goals. The Guide encourages all members of the University of Regina community to develop and implement projects and strategies that respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action

The TRC Working Group identified and adhered to the following principles in developing the five goals:

  • Truth must come before reconciliation;
  • Actions must accompany words and symbols;
  • Reconciliation demands structural change; and,
  • Reconciliation lies in a commitment to accountability.

“I commend the members of the TRC Working Group for the work they have done to develop a response to the TRC’s Calls to Action.  They have enabled the University to move forward with a clear vision of what Reconciliation looks like in light of truth, and have provided guidance on the next steps we need to take to help us all get there,” said Timmons. “I also wish to thank the University’s leadership for acknowledging the truth of our colonial past and present, and for supporting our desire to become an institution and a society where non-Indigenous populations can study, work, and live in a good way with Indigenous peoples.” 

The Statement and Guide are available at: https:/3da/president/major-docs.html