June 22nd, 2024

Students helping U of L indigenize campus

By Ry Clarke - for the Lethbridge Herald on April 8, 2022.

Indigenous Awareness Week at the University of Lethbridge concluded with a session on indigenization, bringing awareness to Indigenous culture.
The web-event was hosted by Don McIntyre, assistant professor at the University of Lethbridge in the Dhillon School of Business, showcasing the work his students have done throughout the semester working on systemic understanding and indigenizing the institutions on campus.
McIntyre’s class worked on a budget of $50 and a timeline for the semester to go out and find ways to indigenize the university.
“Indigenization is about understanding our relationship and our commitments,” said McIntyre. “Our responsibilities and obligations to the Wind beings, the Water beings, and the Plant beings. That became one of the main points and it has to do with the facts that Canada and each of the Provinces and Territories adopted from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report in 2015. A promise that they would indigenize not only business, but government and educational institutions.”
Using project management McIntyre’s students focused on an indigenizing context, taking in the scope of the project, resources available, and the time frame.
McIntyre teaches his students to look for the Indigenous context and looking at the world through a different paradigm. With parameters from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, McIntyre asked his students to indigenize culture on campus, a key to reconciliation stated by the TRC.
“The TRC was asking for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to coexist, a relationship that must be rebuilt on understanding and respect. The TRC recommends that Canada indigenize schools to educate students on Indigenous culture. This is key to reconciliation. So that was the ask that I presented to them, that Canada had presented.”
Presenters showcased the work they had done through the semester, working to indigenize campus coffee centers, student handbooks, volunteering, and representation on campus. The work the students did examined how the institution worked and ways they could incorporate indigenization into the structure.
Markin Hall will now have two signages, one in English and one in Blackfoot reading ‘Poommaat! Ni tá Paisiksikimi’, a way to order coffee in Blackfoot. Other groups worked to spread awareness through the Student Handbook, indigenizing the material with an inclusion of the Blackfoot perspective. CKXU, the campus radio station on 88.3 FM, worked with a group to create public service announcements that highlighted Blackfoot phrases and words, along with information on the spoken words.
Students can see their work live after the project has ended with institutions learning from them and snowballing into more.
“I know that CKXU is looking for people to actually continue that, that project and make it a larger project so that they can have a whole file of these phrases,” said McIntyre.
Indigenous Awareness Week wrapped up spreading awareness and heritage to the community, using its time to welcome new students, and reconnect with old, with Monday showcasing art practices, mentorship, and indigenization. Though the events are over, Indigenous Awareness Week at the Art Gallery will display artwork from the ULethbridge Collection by Indigenous artists in the Hess Gallery, W600, until today.
McIntyre suggests for anyone looking to learn more “there is a presentation of the Inuit and Indigenous art works. I would just like to point out to everybody that University of Lethbridge has one of the best Indigenous collections in Canada.”

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