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UW Indigenous Identity Engagement - UW Community (Indigenous staff, students, faculty)

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About

Preamble

Concerns about fraudulent claims to Indigenous identity have been arising across the country, including in Canadian universities. False claims to advantage an individual’s professional, personal and/or financial gain are serious and create harm for Indigenous people as well as the academy.

In the past, the University of Winnipeg has followed a practice of honouring self-declaration as Indigenous. This practice was put in place because Indigenous identity is complex due to centuries of colonialism and racism. The self-declaration process for faculty, staff and students was a step forward in being able to demonstrate inclusion of Indigenous people, but recent cases across Canada demonstrate that we must work toward a transparent and ethical process.

With support from the President’s Office, the University of Winnipeg recognizes our role in moving Truth and Reconciliation forward and is committed to Indigenous success, engagement and achievement. This also necessitates taking the next step in ensuring opportunities for Indigenous students, staff, and faculty are safeguarded for them.

Dialogue with respect to Indigenous citizenship is a complex and important conversation for our community to have including taking care to minimize barriers and ensure supports. The University of Winnipeg honours Indigenous sovereignty including with regards to citizenship; therefore, engagement with Indigenous community (internal and external to the UW community) is of utmost importance.

A diverse working group with intersectional representation, the Indigenous Identity Working Group (IIWG), has been struck to begin this conversation with the goal of recommending a process and policy in 2024. The IIWG is seeking advice from Indigenous individuals, communities and governments and is building on the strength and wisdom of a similar process conducted by the University of Manitoba (UM) in 2023.

Engagement Process

Three engagement sessions are being held between April and May 2024, one with each of the following stakeholder groups: 1) UW Community (Indigenous staff, students, faculty), 2) the Inuit Community, 3) the Urban/Inner-City Community. Sessions will be facilitated by an external contractor, Kali Moss of Sage Solutions, utilizing a hybrid format (in-person/virtual). In lieu of session attendance, an online survey can be completed at [link]. Light refreshments will be available for in-person participants. If you require accessibility support for an in-person session please indicate your needs when registering. In appreciation of participants' time, in-person participants will receive an honorarium (which requires completion of a form) in the amounts of $200 for Elders or $100 for other adults.

Privacy

Your input will be collected anonymously and you may withdraw your participation at any time. However, if you choose to withdraw your participation, your anonymous input will continue to be used as it will not be possible to remove it from the dataset due to its anonymous nature. Anonymous participant input will be summarized in a final report for the use of the IIWG and UW.

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