Kwantlen Polytechnic University will be hosting an event titled “Indigenous Dialogue Series: Perspectives on Indigenization” on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The event will be held online over a Zoom conference from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
The series aims to bring the KPU community together to learn and take steps towards “addressing historical and systemic wrongs, ensuring fundamental rights, and creating a present and future where Indigenous peoples can flourish,” according to the event’s web page.
Dr. Steve Cardwell, Vice President of Students, says the series will allow the KPU community to listen to the voices of Indigenous speakers on how Indigeneity and reconciliation can be approached.
The event will feature Dr. Jo-ann Archibald Q’um Q’um Xiiem, from the Stó:lō and St’at’imc First Nations in B.C. as the keynote speaker. Archibald is a professor emeritus at the educational studies department at UBC’s faculty of education, and in 2017 she received an honorary Doctor of Law from KPU.
Archibald will be speaking about the meaning of reconciliation in regards to Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous self-determination, and high-quality education, and will touch on how KPU can “be engaged with Indigeneity and reconciliation in a meaningful way.”
“She will share with us her perspective, potential policy ideas and practices, helping us to make the university more respectful and responsive to Indigenous peoples,” says Cardwell.
He adds that KPU has “reignited” the Indigenous advisory committee, which meets three to four times a year. This has been ongoing for the past three years, and the most recent meeting was attended by 20 to 25 people.
Hosting the Indigenous dialogue series is one of the efforts the school is taking to further its commitment to reconciliation, he says.
KPU’s recently appointed Chancellor, Kim Baird, will also be part of the panel speakers, as well as Rhiannon Bennett, who sits on the KPU Board of Governors, and KPU Indigenous Student Council member Samantha Jack.
The event will be moderated by KPU President Dr. Alan Davis, and attendees will have a chance to ask the panel questions. Cardwell says 100 people have registered for the event as of Nov. 18, and he expects more to register.
He says he hopes members of the KPU community will attend the event because it “addresses a number of areas across the university,” adding that the university can explore what reconciliation means and what initiatives can be taken towards achieving it.
“Out of this, we’ll generate ideas that can be taken forward from various areas, whether it’s within classes that might be exploring these areas, to initiatives that might take place at the university,” says Cardwell.
KPU plans to have more events like this in the future, and intends to invite speakers from across the country. The format of the dialogue series might stay the same or change depending on the feedback, Cardwell says, and the event will be recorded and posted for the KPU community to watch.
“We’re excited for this, and look forward to more events during this series,” he says.