To the MSVU community,
There is a lot on the minds of Nova Scotians these days with wildfires burning in several parts of our province. Our hearts are with all those who have suffered the loss of their homes or who have had to evacuate and don’t yet know if they’ll have a home to return to.
While our university community continues to rally around those in need in every way we can, we also continue to move forward in our other important roles of educator and leader in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. On that note, we’d be remiss if we didn’t draw your attention to the start of a very important month in Canada.
June is National Indigenous History Month.
And June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Both are occasions to recognize and celebrate the heritage, cultures, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada, as well as to continue to advance truth and reconciliation.
Wondering how you can get involved? There are many opportunities for learning, participation and reflection coming up.
- The Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre and partners are hosting Mawita’jik – A Competition Pow Wow at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth from June 23 to 25. There will be dancing and singing competitions, among other events. All are welcome.
- Municipal events will be posted on the Kjipuktuk / Halifax city website.
- The provincial Office of L’nu Affairs website is also a resource.
- The 2023 North American Indigenous Games are coming to Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Dartmouth and Millbrook First Nation from July 15 to 23. The games will include many sport and culture activities.
Throughout MSVU’s 150th anniversary year, we’re sharing profiles of some of the amazing people who have had an impact on the university and in the broader community, including many Indigenous Peoples. I encourage you to read more about:
- Sister Dorothy Moore, CM, ONS, BA, BEd, MEd, DHumL, Mi’kmaw Elder, advocate, and educator
- The Honourable Rita Joe, DHumL, Mi’kmaw poet and MSVU honourary degree recipient
- John R. Sylliboy, Mi’kmaw advocate and educator, as well as an MSVU alum and first to hold the dedicated Senate seat for an Indigenous representative at MSVU
You can also visit the Indigenous Resource Hub / L’nuey Etl-Mawo’tumk on the MSVU website for links to videos, books, podcasts and more.
In the next couple of weeks, we will share a report on MSVU’s progress on the 12 commitments made to Indigenous Peoples during the ceremony of apology and commitment held in October of 2021. We’ve made progress on a number of these commitments, including:
- Indigenizing the content of a number of existing courses and developing new ones with an Indigenous focus, for example an Indigenous Media Literacy course being offered this June by the MSVU Department of Communication Studies and King’s College.
- Adding a dedicated Senate seat for an Indigenous representative was established this year. As noted above, John R. Sylliboy is the first to hold this appointment.
- With the input of the L’nu Advisory Circle at MSVU, establishing an Auntie in Residence program in the fall of 2022, in partnership with the University of King’s College. Emily Pictou-Roberts is the first to hold the position.
- Launching an Indigenous cluster hire in January 2023 seeking three new Indigenous professors and an Indigenous librarian.
Please stay tuned for the full report on our commitments, as well as more information about the work of MSVU’s newly-formed Truth and Reconciliation Committee. And continue to consider how you can advance truth and reconciliation in your personal and professional lives.
Wela’lin, and take good care,
Joël and Patrick
Dr. Joël Dickinson
President and Vice-Chancellor
Mount Saint Vincent University
Patrick Small Legs-Nagge
Special Advisor on Indigenous Affairs
Mount Saint Vincent University