Royal Roads University is committed to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Fully achieving this commitment will be a long journey. We have begun to take steps forward, advised and supported by the Heron People Circle members — Old Ones/Elders who we are privileged to have in our extended Royal Roads family.
Our principles for serving Indigenous Peoples are drawn from the teachings of the Heron People Circle members.
These principles are aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. They include the following:
- We acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have lived in the Lands we now call Canada since time immemorial. We specifically acknowledge the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lekwungen (Songhees) families and ancestors upon whose traditional Lands the Royal Roads campus is located.
- We acknowledge and respect the diversity of Indigenous Peoples across Canada and around the world and their ownership of their cultures.
- We recognize the strength and resiliency of Indigenous Peoples.
- Immigrant-descendants and immigrants who work at Royal Roads are committed to listen and learn to create a new way forward with Indigenous Peoples.
- We are committed to having the difficult conversations that are a natural part of change, and we affirm the right of everyone to be treated with respect as we navigate these together.
Our framework for action
Our community confirmed this framework for action in 2019, following a year of consultation.
This framework has six core elements. They are represented as a circle to symbolize the equality of each of the elements and to honour the circle, which is important in many Indigenous cultures. The elements are all connected, and the university is committed to engaging and growing in all six areas.
How we're taking action
The following are some of the ways that we are working to address these core elements:
- respecting the people of these Lands – building strong, respectful relationships with our Heron Peoples Circle (Old Ones/Elders), Chiefs and Councils of local Nations
- contributing to repairing the effects of oppression of Indigenous Peoples – supporting Indigenous students to achieve their education and career goals, and facilitating research to support Indigenous Peoples and communities
- promoting understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing and being – carefully including Indigenous Knowledge in our curriculum
- committing to learning about the past and its impact on Indigenous Peoples – creating an interactive, blended learning course for Royal Roads staff and faculty based on the BCcampus Pulling Together: Foundations Guide.
- celebrating Indigenous cultures – hosting an annual National Indigenous Peoples Day event (n 2019, this event was attended by more than 2,000 people)
- applying Indigenous protocols to research with Indigenous Peoples – using a culturally-informed protocol for conducting research with Indigenous Peoples and communities
Email Asma-na-hi Antoine, director of Indigenous engagement, to learn more about our commitment to Indigenous Peoples.