Indigenous initiatives in science

Message from the Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator

Tansi kiyawow (hello everyone),

Lydia nitsiyigason (my name is Lydia). Otepimisiw niya (I am Bungi Cree Metis). I use the pronouns she/they. December 1st was my one year anniversary working as the Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator for the Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities. In my role, I support faculty and staff with their decolonization learning and I work with Indigenous students to provide support, advocacy and cultural programming.

This year I met with each department in the Tri-Faculty to learn about current decolonization efforts. Building off our strengths, I worked with the deans to build a strategic plan to guide further decolonization and Indigenization initiatives. One key goal in my position is to assist in the decolonization of curricula and pedagogy. Last month, I offered a talk to the Faculty of Science about Understanding and Uplifting Indigenous Students in Science. About 30 staff and faculty joined the circle to listen and share. Although the scientists seemed hesitant to sit in circle, they quickly adjusted to this way of sitting and speaking which fostered an honest and productive conversation. I was thrilled to be invited by participants inspired by the talk to meet one-on-one to further discuss decolonization of syllabi, pedagogy, and personal practice.

For the broader campus community, I co-organized the lecture series, Walking Together: Perspectives on Direct Action. Over five sessions, we brought Indigenous academic and community leaders together to discuss how each of us can take on the work of decolonization in our every-day lives. I was grateful to have had this experience co-organizing with Cortney Baldwin, Community Relations Coordinator, and Yahlnaaw, the former Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator, from the Faculty of Education. The best part of my job is the relationships I build beyond my desk. I will use these skills to organize a public lecture series featuring Indigenous scientists in the Spring. Please stay in touch to hear about these events when they are announced.

It has been a pleasure to work with the Faculty of Science and I look forward to the work to come. If you have any questions about Indigenization and decolonization at UVic, please feel free to reach out to me at .

Hiy Hiy! (thank you!)

Lydia Toorenbourgh
Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator