UVic launches its first Indigenous Plan

UVic launches its first Indigenous Plan

WATCH: For the first time, UVic has launched an Indigenous plan. The five-year initiative aims to improve first people’s education. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

The University of Victoria launched its first Indigenous Plan on Thursday.

?The plan places Indigenous students, faculty, staff and their communities at its heart and will guide our work over the coming years,? says UVic President and Vice-Chancellor Jamie Cassels. 

The plan was unveiled during a ceremony was held at the University’s First People’s House Thursday.

?Building on all our earlier work and achievements, this plan sets out ambitious goals and clear accountability to increase educational opportunities and success for Indigenous students and further develop education, research, outreach and engagement initiatives and programs with an Indigenous focus,” Cassels said.

Professor Robina Thomas (Qwul?sih?yah?maht) and third-year student Yvonne Houssin are among the small percentage of the Indigenous population at the University of Victoria.

“The other day, I was doing a presentation,” said Dr. Thomas, “This was a non-Indigenous student, a settler student, saying you’re the first Indigenous faculty I’ve ever heard speak.”

Among the 874 faculty members, just 25, or less than three per cent are indigenous.

Out of the more than 20,000 students in 2017, 1,224 are indigenous.

“In public space I don’t often feel ‘othered’,” said Houssin, the gender and Indigenous Studies student, “But when you’re in a class room where they only value Western education, when you’re only being thought a way of knowing different from what your community shows you, then yeah there’s a feeling that your way of beings is not always uplifted.”

UVic’s President says that’s what the Indigenous Plan aims to do.

“It commits our University to redouble its efforts to create those opportunities and pathways and enhance the success of indigenous students,” said Professor Cassels.

The Indigenous Plan consists of five strands:

  1. Students
  2. Faculty & Staff
  3. Education
  4. Research
  5. Governance

“The university introducing this plan physically is accountability of this university to uphold those promises in a very real way,” said Houssin. “[A way] people can look back and say you said you were going to do this why, didn’t this happen.”

The university also announced a $10,000 ‘Learning from One Another’ fund “to build on and increase engagement with elders on campus.”

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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