CH&E Reconciliation in Action

The Department of Community Health and Epidemiology has a long history of working with and in communities to accomplish a vision of a society in which all people have equitable opportunity to experience optimal health. As a department, we acknowledge that reconciliation for historical and contemporary harms on Indigenous Peoples and communities is an essential process for achieving that vision. We learn, teach, work, and live on traditional Indigenous territories that in Canada include treaty lands, unceded lands, and Métis homelands. We pay our respects to First Nation, Métis, and Inuit ancestors.  The University of Saskatchewan is on the Homeland of the Métis and Treaty 6 territory.  In our commitment to this place we value respectful relationships with the people around us -past, present, and future – and the animals, lands, waters, and skies that nurture us all. We strive to live these values in our programs, activities, and interactions: relationships grounded in safety and humility, respect for all peoples and their world views, reciprocity in all relationships, relevance to wholistic wellness, and responsibility for informed pedagogy and practice.

In order to structure our reconciliation efforts, a committee was established with representation from staff, faculty and students in the department. The committee is dedicated to advancing the department’s responses to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action (C2A) through focusing on reconciliation in the areas of teaching and learning, research, and community engagement.

With the gifting of ohpahotân I oohpaahotaan, let’s fly up together The Indigenous strategy for the University of Saskatchewan, the Reconciliation committee has continued to incorporate the direct asks of us as a department to implement ohpahotân into our ongoing work. Specifically, the Seven Fundamental Commitments:

  • Safety – Creating and realizing inviting, welcoming and safe spaces
    for Indigenous peoples, free from racism and oppression.
  • Wellness – Integrating wholistic healing supports for the University’s Indigenous
    community, including students, staff, faculty and leaders
  • Stewardship – Preserving and amplifying Indigenous cultures, languages
    and protocol learnings.
  • Representation – Uplifting Indigenous peoples in University spaces and places
  • Right Relations – Supporting active and respectful partnerships and engagement
    with Indigenous peoples – ethical and relational spaces
  • Creation – Acknowledging, resourcing and investing in wise practices and
    activities— conjuring the creative spirit that inspires innovation
  • Renewal – Strengthening and sustaining pathways of access and
    success—connecting with Indigenous youth

These committments have offered us a framework on which to build, monitor and measure our reconciliation work. As a committee, we have recently undertaken a review to hold our work against ohpahotân to help us celebrate our successes as a department and identify areas that continue to require attention.

Although we recognize reconciliation is a journey without an end point, we will continue to engage with our students, colleagues, and communities for the benefit of all.

Carlyn Seguin, Global Health Manager