The Indigenous membership/citizenship verification task force is focused on ensuring Indigenous peoples are hired for positions created for Indigenous peoples and for Indigenous programming, funding, and scholarships at the university. The importance of properly securing and protecting Indigenous space in the university has never been greater. Continuing from planning started in 2021, the focused work began in January 2022, led by USask’s Office of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, with the guidance of Elders, knowledge keepers and Indigenous partners in Saskatchewan.
“These experiences in Canada and beyond made it clear our university needed to advance on our review of how we will support Indigenous membership/citizenship verification with documentation,” said Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Airini.
“We recognize that Indigenous peoples have the inherent right to self-determination and self-government,” said Airini. “The conversation about Indigenous membership/citizenship verification must be led by Indigenous peoples at the University of Saskatchewan and external Indigenous partners representing communities. We are truly grateful for the advice and leadership helping us understand better and move forward respectfully.”
There is also an advisory circle that sits on the outside of the task force. This advisory circle is a non-voting group and is comprised of representatives from across the university. Their role is to advise the task force on how the policy might impact existing university processes.
“Having a formal dialogue around Indigenous membership/citizenship verification with documentation is complex, but it is vitally important,” said Dr. Angela Jaime, Interim Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, and chair of the task force. “With recent events, the university has been in the spotlight, and many will be watching and waiting to see how we respond. We also know that this has been a tremendously difficult time for Indigenous faculty, staff, and students. We must make space for healing and action.”
“The dialogue with Indigenous leaders, scholars, students, faculty, and community members has been rich and inspiring and at times difficult. Therefore, as we work toward solutions and act in response to these issues, we need to ensure that any action we take comes from decisions that Indigenous people have made together,” Jaime said.
The task force will submit the final policy for approval to the USask Board of Governors’ meeting on June 20, 2022.
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USask Media Relations