Our team appreciates that the burden of systemic change required to bring about reconciliation in Canada’s educational environments, and at Western specifically, cannot be carried by any single group of advocates; rather these efforts must be shared. The changes needed in post-secondary environments call for important investments at the structural level. Western’s current population is significantly under represented by Indigenous students, staff and faculty, for example. But so too are changes required in the everyday attitudes, knowledges and ways of thinking and teaching about, interacting with, and doing scholarship with Indigenous peoples and issues.
However, just as the reconciliation process will take time to unfold at Western, we recognize that the uptake of the TRC recommendations will require a significant shift in philosophy, a reorientation of public attitudes, a commitment by our University Administration in acknowledging the rights of Indigenous Canadians, and a good deal of empathy by all. As a team of scholars and administrators, we are passionate about drawing on the most of important tool in our possession – that of public education – to inspire, inform and educate the Western community of the need, and of the possibilities, for a more equitable Canada.