VIU Campus

Recognizing Indigenous History Month

National Indigenous History Month graphic
Author: Dr. Deborah Saucier

In June, VIU recognizes National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. We do this by acknowledging the rich history, heritage, culture, resilience, contributions and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Canada. 

We begin by acknowledging and thanking the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.

I am grateful to our Elders-in-Residence for their presence and sharing of their traditional knowledge, for the Indigenous students who choose to study at VIU and for the Indigenous faculty and employees who share their knowledge and support our learners. Your presence and contributions enrich our community and build our understanding of your unique history, heritage, culture and resilience.

At VIU, we strive all year to create a space for Truth and Reconciliation in action. Our commitment is evident in our work to implement the Calls to Action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The partnerships between VIU and Indigenous communities that support learners, co-create innovative programming, and deepen mutual understanding are core to our identity. On our campuses, we have worked to create spaces of belonging and provide support for Indigenous students.

VIU remains firm in its commitments to Truth and Reconciliation through working closely with Indigenous Nations and Communities to further realize the TRC's Calls to Action and to implement recommendations of the UNDRIP. As many have said elsewhere, the first part to reconciliation is to tell the truth. Last May, with the discovery of mass graves at the Kamloops Residential School, we were provided a stark reminder of how much we still must learn about the history of trauma and violence inflicted on Indigenous Peoples by Canada. Since then, evidence of more mass gravesites has been discovered across Canada. These horrific discoveries remind us how much work still needs to be done for Canada to acknowledge its history and the truth about its actions towards Indigenous Peoples.

This month, we have been sharing resources to build our community’s appreciation and knowledge of the history, contributions, culture, diversity and knowledge of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. Please prioritize taking time to read these resources and examine how you will participate in the process of Truth and Reconciliation here at VIU and in our communities.

For those in Nanaimo, there is a National Indigenous Peoples’ Day event on June 21 at Maffeo Sutton Park from 5 to 8 pm. More details can be found here. I encourage all who are able to attend.


Related Posts