York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton issued the following statement on June 20:
Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, York University is proud to join communities across the country in celebrating the culture and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. June is also National Indigenous History Month, and during this time, we honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous Peoples.
York acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work on these lands. We are also grateful for the profound impact that Indigenous members of our community have made and continue to make on York. As a university dedicated to making a positive impact in society, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Indigenous communities on and off our campuses by engaging with the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report.
In 2017, we launched the Indigenous Framework for York University: A Guide to Action, a set of 10 guiding principles to advance Indigeneity at the University. We are a hub for innovative academic programming and research that reflects the needs and lived experiences of our students and the communities we serve. Last month, we announced the launch of the Waaban Indigenous Teacher Education program, a new degree program that is a partnership between our Faculty of Education and the Toronto District School Board. Grounded in Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy, the program will educate a new generation of teachers to address the needs of First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, families and communities. Last fall, we launched our innovative and cross-disciplinary Indigenous Studies program in the Department of Equity Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Deborah McGregor (Anishinaabe), an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School, serves as Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, and applies Indigenous knowledge systems to diverse issues including water quality, sustainable forest management and Indigenous governance and justice. We also offer resources, services and support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners through our Aboriginal Student Services.
As we celebrate both National Indigenous Peoples Day and National Indigenous History Month, the York University community also reaffirms our commitment to growing Indigeneity through our academic programming, research and related creative activities.