Dear members of the Faculty of Information Community,
You’ve probably already received information about the wide variety of activities taking place to mark this year’s Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, but just in case it slipped by you, I wanted to call your attention to what’s planned for this Thursday, September 30th one more time. Speaking personally, I am very proud of what the University is doing this year and looking forward to taking part in this week’s events. I hope you too will be able to join in.
At the same time, I would like to tell you a bit about what’s going on at the Faculty of Information with regard to our Truth and Reconciliation Working Group. The Working Group was first formed in response to the release of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015. Since the Spring of 2020 the group has been taking a hard look at its mandate and scope with the aim of making its work more relevant to Indigenous people and shifting away from a “checkbox” approach to answering the TRC Calls to action.
The Working Group, which is made up of students, faculty members, staff and librarians, has been taking a slow and considered look at where we should be headed, how we get there, and how to bring about meaningful structural change. Much of this was dry but important work having to do with terms of reference and lines of reporting, but it also led to some very productive discussions and periods of contemplation and reflection as we laid the necessary groundwork for moving forward.
I’m pleased to say that, after more than a year, our Truth and Reconciliation Working Group is just about ready to submit its plans for a reimagined committee – one that will transform the group from a temporary working group to a standing committee – to Faculty Council for approval. This move will give the work of this group the weight and scope necessary to make structural change. I can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they’ve done.
Given that one of our priorities at the Faculty is addressing anti-Indigenous racism and the ongoing impacts of colonization within the broader curriculum, I am optimistic that our newly revitalized Truth and Reconciliation standing committee will be able to provide more assistance on these issues in the future. It has been inspiring to work with the group over the past year and I am looking forward to the guidance its members will give in years to come.
Professor and Dean