Statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021

- President Kevin Hall and AVP Indigenous Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas

National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) is a time to celebrate, to learn, and to commit to doing the work of reconciliation. Recognizing NIPD is one small step the University of Victoria is taking on this path.

For Indigenous people, today can be a day to celebrate culture, traditions, teachings and stories. But these celebrations must be balanced with action. NIPD invites us to dedicate ourselves to the challenging work of reconciliation in our own lives, in our families and communities—and in the world.

The confirmation of unmarked graves at residential schools across Canada has been a call to long-overdue action. Our flags remain lowered today as a sign of our commitment to action and as a reminder of the mourning that will continue until all children are returned home.

As leaders, the Indigenous students, staff and faculty at UVic and local Indigenous Nations are our priority. We are committed to breaking down the colonial systems and barriers that still exist in our institution and we are committed to being accountable in this work.

We are committed to taking action toward ensuring that Indigenous ways of knowing and being are respected and supported, and that they permeate and enrich everything we do at UVic. This work must be done in a good way, with good minds and hearts, and with a focus on real change.

Please take time today to learn, to reflect and to take action toward reconciliation. Make a visible commitment to the work of reconciliation today — words have never been enough.

Commitments in the Strategic Framework

As an institution, UVic has committed to taking action on truth, respect and reconciliation. On National Indigenous Peoples Day, we renew the commitments made in our Strategic Framework:

We will:

  • Strategy 4.1 – Implement and advance the applicable calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the goals of our own Indigenous Plan.
  • Strategy 4.2 – Develop new pathways for access to higher education for Indigenous students.
  • Strategy 4.3 – Increase the number and success of Indigenous students, faculty, staff and leaders at UVic by developing priority recruitment strategies across the university, along with programs to support success.
  • Strategy 4.4 – Implement transformative programs to provide a welcoming, inclusive campus environment for all, and include the entire university community in Indigenous-engaged learning to promote mutual understanding and respect.
  • Strategy 4.5 – Foster respectful partnerships with Indigenous communities, governments and organizations—developing and supporting educational and research programs that align community needs and priorities with UVic's strengths and capabilities.