Indigenization and decolonization

Indigenization Implementation Strategy feature image

The Faculty of Humanities is committed to implementing the principles of decolonization and Indigenization in its programs and organizational structures.

Reflecting this commitment, a five-year Indigenization Implementation Strategy (IIS) has been developed to guide our collective and individual efforts to support and implement the principles of the UVic Indigenous Plan, UVic Strategic Framework, and applicable Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action at the faculty and unit level.

The IIS provides a basis for both accountability and reporting as a way of holding ourselves accountable for our shared responsibility for decolonization. It also directs our academic units to undertake their own implementation strategy.

This initiative was led by Lisa Surridge, Associate Dean Academic, and Lydia Toorenburgh, Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator for the Faculties of Humanities, Science and Social Science. Extensive consultations were conducted with Humanities staff, students and faculty, with representatives of the Faculty’s academic units, and with individual Indigenous staff and faculty. A draft of the document was reviewed by Qwul'sih'yah'maht Robina Thomas, UVic’s Vice President Indigenous.

The Faculty of Humanities’ Indigenization Implementation Strategy 2022 - 2026 was formally approved and adopted in March 2022.

You can download the full document here:

Lisa Surridge and Lydia Toorenburgh standing in front of the Clearihue building, holding a copy of the new Indigenization Implementation Strategy
The development of the Humanities Indigenization Implementation Strategy was led by Lisa Surridge, Humanities Associate Dean Academic, and Lydia Toorenburgh, Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator for the Faculties of Humanities, Science and Social Science.

Statement of Commitment

The following Statement of Commitment is drawn directly from the IIS. It summarizes the values and commitments of the Faculty and provides a horizon of success to work toward, to increase accountability, and to remind ourselves of the ownership and responsibility we have in this important work.

The Dean, the Dean’s Office, and Faculty of Humanities commit themselves to the following

  • to create a warm, welcoming and respectful learning environment and sense of place
    for all Indigenous students, faculty, and staff;
  • to increase the recruitment, retention and success of Indigenous staff and faculty across
    all units;
  • to support and recognize the research and scholarship of Indigenous faculty and
    graduate students;
  • to increase recruitment, retention and success of Indigenous students;
  • to support all faculty, staff and students to gain a better understanding of settler-
    Indigenous relations, the ongoing realities of colonization, and their own relationship to
    the territory on which they live and the Indigenous peoples of that territory, and to
    reflect critically on settler-colonial values and assumptions;
  • to support and promote Indigenous research initiatives and opportunities for faculty,
    graduate students, and undergraduate students;
  • to establish and promote culturally appropriate and inclusive definitions, guiding
    principles and protocols for research with Indigenous researchers, materials, and
  • to examine curricula and pedagogy across the faculty with a view to decolonizing and
    Indigenizing, as well as affirming and including Indigenous ways of knowing; and
  • to support Indigenous Studies to thrive in the faculty.

Toward these ends, we commit to undertake implementation work as follows:

  • to implement the strategies and tactics outlined in the IIS;
  • to undertake regular reflection on steps taken so far;
  • to engage in regular (re)appraisal of whether these steps are having the desired effect
    and how we might improve upon them; and
  • to update this plan as necessary when guiding documents from the university require
    such revision.


“Decolonization is about practices and/or thinking that supports individual and collective determination as a starting point for this work. To decolonize is to recognize that current western paradigms should not automatically hold privilege; Indigenous ways of thought are equal in value. Decolonization work includes determining how these alternate forms of scholarship are evaluated”

- see “Collective Responsibility for Decolonization and Indigenization,” University of Victoria.

“Indigenization is a collaborative process of naturalizing Indigenous intent, interactions, and processes
and making them evident to transform spaces, places, and hearts. In the context of postsecondary edication, this involves including Indigenous Perspectives and approaches. Indigenization benefits not only Indigenous students but all students, teachers, staff members, an community members involved or impacted by Indigenization.”

- Iain Cull, Robert L.A. Hancock, Stephanie McKeown, Michelle Pidgeon, and Adrienne Vedan, Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors.

Download the Indigenization Implementation Strategy here: