Over the Winter 2019 semester, President Dr. Kathy Denton created and chaired a Steering Committee to oversee the development of Douglas College’s first over-arching, long-term Indigenization Strategy. The Steering Committee consulted broadly, engaging approximately 150 employees and Board members and 50 students, as well as members of local Indigenous communities. The resulting high-level Strategy, presented to the College Board in June 2019, outlines three broad objectives and eight subsidiary ones: it expresses in broad terms the intentions that will guide Douglas College as it continues to respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action and the provisions of UNDRIP.
Douglas College Indigenization Strategy
|Number||Objectives||Relevant TRC¹ / UNDRIP² Provisions|
|1||Express Douglas College’s commitment to Indigenization and reconciliation in ways that are tangible and visible to our communities, our students, our employees and our visitors to campus.|
|1.1||Celebrate more visibly the College’s setting among traditional Coast Salish territories and peoples, integrating Indigenous history, sense of place and ways of knowing into our educational and extra-curricular activities.||
TRC # 63
|1.2||Increase academic programs that have an Indigenous focus, are culturally relevant in content and pedagogy, and are informed and supported by Indigenous expertise.||TRC #s 1, 10, 12, 23, 24, 28, 57, 62, 86, 88, 90, 92|
|1.3||Identify and remove employment barriers faced uniquely by Indigenous peoples to enable increased hiring of Indigenous employees.||TRC #s 23, 92
|2||Deepen relationships with local First Nations communities in ways that serve the communities’ interests and needs, and the needs and interests of Indigenous students at Douglas College.|
|2.1||Increase and formalize relationships with local First Nations communities in support of partnerships and collaborations||UNDRIP #s 21, 23|
|2.2||Improve Douglas College’s profile within local Indigenous communities as a welcoming, collaborative partner and as a safe, inclusive school that is receptive to Indigenous students, perspectives and ways of knowing.||TRC #10 UNDRIP #23|
|3||Address professional development needs of all employee groups in support of Douglas College’s meaningful efforts towards Indigenization and reconciliation.|
|3.1||Address employee professional development and training needs related to Indigenous cultural competencies, anti-racism and inclusivity, and trauma-informed practice.||TRC #s 1, 12, 23, 24, 28, 57, 63, 92|
|3.2||Address faculty and educational support staff professional development needs related to Indigenous pedagogies, courses and programs.||
TRC #s 57, 62, 63
|3.3||Develop protocols and policies in support of Indigenization efforts||TRC #s 1, 12, 23, 24, 28, 57, 63, 92|
¹ To review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, see https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/indigenous-people/aboriginal-peoples-documents/calls_to_action_english2.pdf
² To review the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, see https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf
These broad statements capture significant themes reflected in the input and concerns shared with the Steering Committee. Collectively, students, employees, Board members and community partners underscored the need for the College’s Indigenization efforts to be meaningful, visible and sustainable—and above all, for these efforts to be undertaken in ways that are inclusive, sensitive to and respectful of Indigenous perspectives and contributions.
The key objectives in the Strategy will guide the further work of employees throughout the Faculties and the service and administrative areas over the next five years; they will also be embedded in the College’s 2020–2025 Strategic Plan, as it is developed in the upcoming academic year.