Indigenization a key component of national Congress conference
- Annette M. Ermine | July 02, 2018
Working with Indigenous students left an impression on André Magnan that remains even today.
Magnan is a Sociology professor at the University of Regina who was asked to deliver a seminar to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences conference about the nitôncipâmin omâ Student Success Program (The OMA Program). OMA is a support network offered to first-year Indigenous students organized by the Aboriginal Students Centre.
Magnan acquired a deeper understanding of Indigenous students and their struggle to transition to university life after participating in a traditional talking circle with students.
“I got exposure to… the challenges (Indigenous students) faced,” he said, and realized first-hand the importance of programs like OMA and the enormous benefits to students “that helps (them) cope and adapt… to university life.”
Programs like this and the Office of Indigenization are vital to the university’s vision to Indigenize the campus.
“Reconciliation is important to the university,” Magnan said and this work is reflected in their strategic plan called Peyak Aski Kikawinaw-Together We Are Stronger.
“We are leaders, nationally, in Indigenization,” said Magnan. “We are unique that First Nations University of Canada is a federated College of the University and partners in Congress 2018.”
Magnan was the designated lead for Congress 2018 “Gathering diversities” conference, which is the largest gathering of world class scholars in Canada and was hosted by the University of Regina on May 26-June 1, 2018.
Planning for a conference of this magnitude is an enormous undertaking and “from the beginning… (the planning committee) wanted to emphasize Indigenization, Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous ways of knowing and how these contribute to the humanities of social sciences.”
The Community Connections is one of many Congress 2018 events that explored how universities can incorporate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission-Calls to Action to reflect a diverse student body.
“Indigenous knowledge and other ways of knowing can complement one another. If you are a non-Indigenous researcher, scholar, professor, it’s important and we have a responsibility as non-Indigenous people to learn more about Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing,” said Magnan.