We began our journey in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action as a Faculty and House Parent group in the fall of 2017, when we invited a student group from Bert Fox High School in Fort Qu’Appelle to lead a Blanket Exercise. The goal in mind was to begin the education of our team and motivate a response that would move us to create a more diverse and inclusive environment at the College.
Since that time, motivated to shift our culture to include Indigenous representation, both Treaty Four and Metis flags hang in Varsity where we gather for assemblies and meals and in Duncan McNeill Arena. We also created a Land Acknowledgement that is articulated at all assemblies, gatherings and at the start of every Shack. Our Land Acknowledgement has also been added to the Notre Dame website and is a display message on the media screen in Duncan McNeill Arena.
Continuing our commitment to education, in February 2019 we began our relationship with 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education.4 Seasons of Reconciliation is a unique 3-hour and 15-minute online course which promotes a renewed relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians through transformative learning about truth and reconciliation.
4 Seasons of Reconciliation is designed to allow students and staff to explore themes, ideas and topics in Canadian history from Indigenous perspectives and following Indigenous principles developed with an Indigenous Advisory Circle which is composed of a wide range of Indigenous partners from Canada’s oldest Indigenous-controlled post-secondary institution, First Nations University of Canada, to Elders, Knowledge Keepers and educators.
We entered into an unlimited contract with 4 Seasons of Reconciliation in March 2021 and are pleased to announce that as of December 2021 all of our staff had completed the modules and it is a mandatory piece of our on-boarding for all new staff going forward. Our contract with 4 Seasons of Reconciliation affords us the opportunity to invite anyone associated with our institution to participate in these education modules which means that our alumni can anticipate an invitation to take part coming from our Development Office. In addition, this contract provides curriculums for our grade 10 and 12 students.
We have conscientiously sought opportunities to engage our Indigenous alumni by connecting them with our students to share, not only their Notre Dame experience, but also to share their roles and experiences as leaders in their communities.
Keys to our moving forward:
Having all of our staff educated and continuing to welcome opportunities to learn.
Developing relationships with Indigenous leaders who can assist us in raising awareness and moving towards cultural competence.
Sharing the Indigenous narrative of Notre Dame Hounds on our campus, website and in our day-to-day stories.
We are inspired by the relationships that we are building and we are committed to the journey.