Fleming College recently passed a policy, approved by the College’s Board of Governors, that honours the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Titled Honouring the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, this is the first policy of its kind for the College and was officially launched on Wednesday, September 25th, as Fleming staff and students were joined by members of the Indigenous community to celebrate at Fleming’s Sutherland Campus.
Natural Semaa wrapped in Tobacco Ties by Ashley Safar, Indigenous Student Services, Kylie Fox-Peltier, Manager, Indigenous Student Services and Elizabeth Osawamick. (Photo courtesy Fleming College)
The event included a ceremonial hanging of tobacco ties with Fleming College President Maureen Adamson, members of Fleming’s Board of Governors, Elder Shirley Williams and Elizabeth Osawamick.
“Fleming must continue to carve a path to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and experience into our curriculum and do our part to educate all our staff and students,” says Fleming College President Maureen Adamson. “We must play our integral role as a community college toward Truth and Reconciliation by ensuring all staff and students are part of the process.”
The new policy is intended to meet the requirements of the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), theTruth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), as well as the CiCAN Indigenous Education Protocol. Fleming College believes in and promotes the rights of all First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis peoples. The College recognizes the unique histories and experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the ongoing impacts of colonization.
Hanging of Tobacco Ties signifies a renewed commitment and contract between Fleming College and the Indigenous Community (photo courtesy Fleming College)
“I am excited to see and hear that this is happening for Fleming College,” says Elder Shirley Williams, Fleming Indigenous Education Council. “Committing to an Indigenous rights policy ensures that the Anishinabeg get their education as part of reconciliation. I am thankful for Fleming making this commitment with an eagle feather present, as this will symbolize the commitment of truth.”
The policy affirms the College’s commitment to equity and inclusion, and providing a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indigenous Peoples and their ways of knowing. The policy will support the College community in the process of Truth and Reconciliation via education, training and acknowledgement, with the formation of an Honouring the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Committee (HRIPC).
It will also ensure that the College makes every reasonable effort to ensure Indigenous peoples, languages and ways of knowing are represented in all College operations and spaces.