[Indigenization-updates] Indigenous Initiatives update - May/June 2019

UWaterloo Communications msc-comm at uwaterloo.ca
Tue Jun 11 11:44:53 EDT 2019

Welcome to the Indigenous initiatives update listserv. We created this mailing list to keep the campus community up to date on our work.
Recommendations for Indigenization at Waterloo
In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada began a multi-year process to listen to Survivors, communities and others affected by the residential school system. In 2015, to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published 94 calls to action, which span all sectors of Canadian Society. The University of Waterloo has a responsibility to consider how to respond to the Calls to Action, particularly those geared towards post-secondary education.
In the spirit of reconciliation, and the social and cultural benefit of university members as a whole, there is a need to articulate a University of Waterloo-specific response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. We must also identify meaningful changes that move beyond the Calls to Action by creating a long-term vision for the University. Indeed, there is a strong commitment at University of Waterloo to identify a pathway forward about how students, faculty, and staff can meaningfully, respectfully, and innovatively, engage Indigenous voices, traditional knowledge, and perspectives.
To begin this process, the President struck a steering committee to guide our work. That group agreed a working group structure across five main areas of the university: research, student experience, community engagement, policies and procedures, and academics. From spring 2017 until summer 2018, a group of more than 60 students, faculty, and staff across the University of Waterloo collectively spent more than 450 hours collaborating to inform recommendations in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action<https://uwaterloo.ca/indigenization-strategy/updates/indigenization-strategy-working-group-draft-recommendations>.
Hiring a campus lead
The President received these recommendations and consulted broadly on next steps. To move this work forward, we have partnered with a professional Indigenous engagement service - AMIK - to provide Indigenous leadership on our work moving forward. Specifically we are working with EJ Fontaine and Eva Wilson-Fontaine.
E. J. Fontaine has been the President and CEO of AMIK Inc. since 2003. He has over 30 years of experience working with Indigenous communities and organizations in various capacities and projects including employment and training, economic development, evaluating programs, conducting labour market research studies and data analysis, developing business plans and marketing plans. He possesses valuable experience in Indigenous engagement and in the management of projects at the local, regional and national levels. EJ is recognized as a national leader in the area of recruitment and retention strategies involving the Indigenous workforce.
Growing up in Manitoba's First Nation communities, EJ is intimately familiar with the systemic barriers that Indigenous people continue to face. With exceptional business acumen and the courage to challenge the status quo, he has successfully blazed new trails upon which others now follow.
Eva Wilson-Fontaine is a member of the Peguis First Nation and is a co-founder of AMIK(tm) Inc.  Her professional career has been working with Indigenous communities in the social services, training and employment, employee retention and is currently the Team Leader with ANISH Corporation.  Her work with AMIK involves delivering cultural awareness sessions, workshop facilitation, presentations on the Effects and Impact of Indian Residential School.  She is a certified Master Facilitator in the Smart Work Ethics workforce employability skills curriculum.
In October 2011, Eva and her husband and business partner, E.J. Fontaine received the Aboriginal Business Leadership Award from Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba.
She has served as a Trustee of the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation, Co-Chair for the Women as Career Mentor Gala Dinner Event, and a board member of Ikwe Widdjiitiwin Women's Shelter.
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Hiring committee
We have also formed a hiring committee that consists of: John Lewis (Faculty member), Jaydum Hunt (Indigenous Student Association), Mackenzie Martyniuk (graduate student), Mario Coniglio (AVP Academic), Becky Grant (Human Resources), Gina Hickman (Director of Equity), Karen Jack (University Secretary) and Diana Parry (AVP Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion). With support from AMIK and the hiring committee, Waterloo is seeking a Senior Director of Indigenous Initiatives<https://careers-uwaterloo.icims.com/jobs/3466/senior-director,-indigenous-initiatives/job?sReferer=jobillico&mobile=false&width=753&height=500&bga=true&needsRedirect=false&jan1offset=-300&jun1offset=-240>. This individual will report to the President and the Associate Vice-President, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion.
This senior level position will focus on the spirit of reconciliation and will provide strategic leadership to articulate a University of Waterloo-specific response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Recruitment has started on this position and we aim to conduct interviews over July and August.
In the next update, we will report on the status of the hiring process, but also a number of Indigenous initiatives from across campus including training opportunities, reading groups, and other opportunities to get involved.  Thank you for your interest in Indigenous initiatives.
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