In May 2020, Carleton launched its revitalized Indigenous initiatives strategy, Kinàmàgawin, marking the culmination of an 18-month broad and consultative process. We are pleased to offer this progress report to the Carleton community as a way to communicate and showcase the collective work that has been undertaken to address the 41 Calls to Action outlined in Kinàmàgawin.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic immediately and significantly impacted the health and wellbeing of people around the world. Post-secondary education institutions quickly transitioned to remote course delivery and the way in which students, staff and faculty participated in education, learning and personal growth was considerably changed.

Classrooms no longer served as the venue for gathering and exchanging ideas, and for many learners, studying and writing became the primary activities at home. The pandemic caused many to live in fear of the very two elements that have historically sustained Indigenous Peoples during challenging times – community and connection.

Over the last two years, the disparities experienced by Indigenous Peoples in relation to financial stability, access to resources, and connection to culture have only been amplified.

Beyond having to access post-secondary learning differently, Indigenous students have had to navigate significant loss in their families and communities, often while feeling lonely and disconnected. For students who began their studies at Carleton virtually, it was more challenging than ever before to feel part of the campus community and to find a sense of belonging.

The past two years have been a time for learning and re-learning how to meaningfully connect with each other. Staff and faculty have demonstrated innovation in the ways in which they have nurtured relationships, supported personal and academic growth and motivated students from afar. Conversely, students have adapted and found new ways to connect with their cultures and communities—all while feeling anxious about what might come next.

Today, as we begin to look forward to returning to campus, we are acutely aware of what we have learned since the Kinàmàgawin strategy was first released: the importance of fostering an on-campus environment where the foundational principles of belonging—and that of connection to Indigenous knowledge traditions—are prioritized. In many ways, we have been reminded that only by teaching, learning and working together will we find a way forward where everyone is valued for the unique gifts that they bring: this is the essence of Kinàmàgawin.

This report represents a significant amount of collective work that has been undertaken by our colleagues across the university to address the calls to action outlined in the Kinàmàgawin strategy, all with the overarching goal of making Carleton a safe and welcoming space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty. These actions have been complemented by a $2.5 million donation from the Joyce Family Foundation—matched by an additional $2.5 million from the university—which has allowed us to mobilize many of our intentions. We wish to thank all members of the Carleton community for their work in this important area and to reinforce our commitment to continuing to make progress on the work that remains to be done.

Read the report

During National Indigenous History Month, Carleton University is celebrating the rich and diverse cultures, voices and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who are positively impacting the world. Visit our National Indigenous History Month page through the month of June to learn more.

Thursday, June 9, 2022 in
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