Earlier today, Universities Canada, of which I am Board Chair, issued the following statement. As president of the University of Lethbridge, I can say unequivocally our university will continue its work to advance reconciliation for the betterment of all of the communities and people the U of L serves.
Canada’s universities reaffirm commitment to supporting Indigenous community
OTTAWA – Canada’s university presidents wish to extend their deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Colten Boushie, the wider Indigenous community and all Canadians who are hurting at this difficult time. We are fully committed to supporting our Indigenous students, faculty, staff and local communities now and in the weeks and months to come.
As Canadian society grapples with the ongoing reality of racism and the challenges of reconciliation, Canada’s universities reaffirm our commitment to fostering a renewed relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, by examining and changing our own institutional approaches, policies, practices and structures. Universities across Canada made this public commitment in 2015 to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and recent events have underscored the need for the higher education sector to redouble its efforts.
As public institutions of learning, discovery, and community service that deeply value dialogue, debate, and cross-cultural exchange, Canada’s universities are committed to a leadership role in advancing reconciliation in Canada.
I know that many people at our University are feeling distress about the tragic circumstances and subsequent legal outcome concerning Colten Boushie.
Student Affairs offers culturally safe supports to any students who need them. The Elder support program is also available on campus http://www.uleth.ca/first-nations-metis-inuit/content/medicine-rock-elders. If you need to talk with someone at Iikaiskini Gathering Place, contact (403) 317-2812 for further direction or support.
Students in our community can also seek assistance through Counselling Services (http://www.uleth.ca/counselling/) or at 403-317-2845.
Mike Mahon, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Lethbridge
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