National forum on reconciliation in higher education stirs hope, optimism

By Calvi Leon  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Hope. Optimism. And a commitment to reconciliation. Those themes emerged Wednesday from Western University’s wampum learning lodge, an Indigenous learning centre where 450 people gathered for a three-day national forum on advancing reconciliation in universities and colleges. The title of the eighth annual forum, building reconciliation, says it all, said Christy Bressette, Western’s vice-provost and associate vice-president for Indigenous initiatives. “We’re building this,” she said, sitting in an outdoor ceremonial space where a sacred fire burned throughout the conference. “This is a shared responsibility to reconcile communities and institutions with Indigenous peoples. How we do that is what the whole conference is about.” The event also aims to empower people. “Decolonizing” schools and transforming courses and teaching practices to include Indigenous people, their…

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