June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada – a time to celebrate the unique heritage, cultures, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. At Trent University, it is also a moment to reflect on the evolving history of Trent’s leadership in Indigenous scholarship, supports and visibility.
Revitalizing languages, re-energizing cultures and communities
“We are here to declare a victory. We are still here and our people are stronger than ever,” shares Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, director of the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University. “We’re revitalizing our languages, we’re re-energizing our cultures, our elders are teaching our young people how to live on the land, and our young people are seeking out opportunities to fulfill their potential.”
Through the First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University, Indigenous students are able to find a home-away-from-home with a wide range of cultural, academic and support services.
Indigenous knowledge fundamental to the twenty-first century
Trent’s recent Convocation ceremonies included some of the first graduates who entered Trent when the Indigenous course requirement was introduced in 2018 – one of many initiatives stewarded by Professor David Newhouse, recently appointed a 3M National Teaching Fellow.
“When we brought in the Indigenous course requirement we didn’t talk about reconciliation, what we did was we said that every student needs to understand Indigenous history, culture and traditions as a fundamental set of knowledge for the twenty-first century,” says Prof. David Newhouse, chair of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent.
A legacy of trailblazers in Indigenous education
Explore how Trent is renowned as a leader in Indigenous education:
- #1 in Canada for promoting Indigenous visibility (Maclean’s University Rankings, 2021)
- Established the first department of Indigenous Studies in Canada (1969)
- Global first: Indigenous Elder hired to teach Nishinaabemowin language and culture (1975)
- A series of annual events including the long-standing Elders and Traditional Peoples Gathering, and the new Nogojiwanong Indigenous Fringe Festival
Highlights from the past year