Monday, June 21, 2021

    Brandon Sweet
    University Communications

    Waterloo celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day

    Indigenous History Month featuring the sun, the eagle, the violin, and ceremonial smoke.

    By Joy Braga.

    Today marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day for all Canadians to honour and celebrate the legacy, diverse cultures and exceptional contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, it is important to acknowledge that they each have their own unique heritage, language, cultural traditions, and spiritual beliefs. National Indigenous Peoples Day was formerly known as National Aboriginal Day when it was established in 1996 through a proclamation signed by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc. While this day is recognized as a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, it is not yet a statutory holiday in the rest of Canada.

    Through collaboration with Indigenous organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21st, the summer solstice, for National Indigenous Peoples Day in recognition of its cultural, historical, and spiritual significance. This date is momentous for various cultures around the world, particularly for Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous communities throughout history have gathered on this date to conduct traditional ceremonies of prayer, thanksgiving, and celebration.

    Indigenous Peoples are the first inhabitants of Turtle Island, or what is now known as North America. As the original owners and caretakers of this land, they deserve great respect and recognition. In addition to showcasing and celebrating the diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, it is important to acknowledge their great achievements and contributions to Canadian society. We should also take the time to listen, learn, and reflect not only on this day but throughout our lives as we actively work towards advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

    Today, the Indigenous Initiatives Office is excited to host a lunchtime performance from 12:00 noon  to 1:00 p.m. with Deantha Edmunds, Canada’s first and only Inuk professional classical singer. Register now to be a part of this special event.

    In the evening, join O:se Kenhionhata:tie for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Land Back Camp. This will be an online event, starting at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit their event page on Facebook.

    The City of Guelph is also hosting a National Celebration virtual community event with music, dancing and drumming. This will be a live-streamed event, starting at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit their event page.

    If you are interested in other special celebrations across Canada, explore this list of events for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

    Upcoming university events planned for National Indigenous History Month include:

    • All of June: Facts and Quiz Questions – A series of “Did You Know” facts and weekly quiz questions for a chance to win a prize pack.
    • Tuesday, June 29, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: The Honourable Murray Sinclair – Keynote Speaker for National Indigenous History Month

    For more details, registration information, and resources, visit the Indigenous Initiatives Resource Page for National Indigenous History Month.

    A conversation with Jean Becker

    Jean Becker.

    In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, National Indigenous History Month, and with the recent announcement of the discovery of 215 Indigenous children in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC, Pamela Smyth, co-host of Beyond the Bulletin, engaged in conversation with Jean Becker, senior director, indigenous initiatives and interim associate vice-president, human rights, equity and inclusion about the discovery and its impact on truth and reconciliation in Canada.

    The interview was originally featured in Episode 90 of the Beyond the Bulletin Podcast on June 4, 2021.

    This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    Many people across Canada indeed across the world are shocked and saddened by this tragic discovery in Kamloops. What did you think when you heard?

    Jean: Well, I have to say, I wasn't shocked. I wasn't even surprised. This is not something that we haven't known for a very long time. You know, I have friends who were in residential schools. And I've heard the stories, I read the testimonials from the Truth and Reconciliation report. And if you've learned anything about the residential schools, this this really isn't a very shocking, or unexpected. But I was saddened. I'm partly saddened that that it's shocking for so many Canadians, because it indicates we still have a lot of work to do, in terms of the truth part of reconciliation.

    The Honourable Murray Sinclair, chair of the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has spoken out. And he's reminded us that we know of 3,200 children who died at residential schools. Those are the ones we know about. But the number is likely to be much higher. So what do you think needs to happen now?

    Jean: I think that the federal government needs to do what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asked for when they discovered this fact, during their hearings. This was uncovered then and that's back somewhere between 2010 and 2015. So, I think that the government now needs to put the resources in the place and begin the investigation. And a they need to do the investigation thoroughly and properly,continued on until we have answers about those 3,200 that we know died in those schools. And we need to look for the causes of those deaths. This is all possible with today's technology. And we need to commit to it. And we need to make sure that it happens this time.

    So we should prepare for the discovery of more of these mass graves.

    Jean: That was such a poignant part of the Honourable Murray Sinclair's statement, when he said, prepare yourselves: there’s more to come.

    What effect could this have on reconciliation efforts?

    Jean: Well, you know, I felt before this happened, that we're not at the reconciliation part yet, we're still in the truth part. And I think that's very evident, with the shock and the surprise that people are feeling to hear that  a number of children are buried there. Just the fact that they're shocked means that they didn't know. So that means that there’s still a great deal of information that people just don't want to have yet. And  I think that this is evidence that we need to deal with, the truth. And we need to know the truth. And this is why the investigation is so important. We need to know why it happened. We need to be able, not only for the families that you know, suffered those losses, we need to know, the country needs to know the truth.

    Part of it, too is people need to believe the survivors. There were horrific things that were given in testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and people now are seeing that stuff happened. It wasn't somebody telling tales. Do you think that this could be a turning point?

    Jean: I hope that it is a turning point. I hope that it is a another movement forward just as the TRC itself was a movement forward, the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. But if the response falls short, then the opportunity will be lost. It's an opportunity for us. But if we if don't seize it, and if action isn't taken, it won't make a difference.

    Does this discovery affect the direction of your work at Waterloo?

    Jean: We’re really just beginning to establish an Indigenization strategy and to develop it into something that will be impactful across the entire campus. So we're doing a lot of work to establish the Indigenous initiatives and then Indigenization decolonization strategy. And really, we're at the very beginning of doing it. I don't know that this will impact it. But hopefully, it will bring more awareness to what we're doing. And mostly it will bring more awareness I hope to why we're doing it. But I think that this really will help to highlight the importance of the work and the absolute imperative for Waterloo, as well as all other post-secondary institutions to make sure that this work is carrying on and that it's being being done in a really good way.

    And you have something very special coming up.

    Jean: We are having an event on June 29th at 1:00 p.m. with the Honorable Murray Sinclair. He is a very powerful speaker to begin with, but his experience through all the years of his career is invaluable in terms of understanding Indigenous issues. And he's such a positive and kind spirit. He really makes a difference when he speaks. So I'm really excited that he's agreed to do this event with us.

    Check out the full interview with Jean Becker on YouTube.

    COVID-19 rapid screening site in DC opens today

    The interior of the Davis Centre.

    The University of Waterloo has established a COVID-19 rapid screening site in the Davis Centre for eligible students and employees that has begun operating today. Eligible employees and students can now book appointments online.

    "As we work towards returning more people to campus, on-site rapid testing will help us identify people infected with COVID-19 that other screening protocols might otherwise miss," wrote President Feridun Hamdullahpur in his memo announcing the rapid screening site to the campus community on Thursday, June 17. "If you have no symptoms of COVID-19, you come to campus regularly and you have regular contact with other employees, students or the public you should consider participating in the rapid testing program."

    Examples of eligible participants include:

    • Researchers or instructors who cannot maintain physical distancing or who conduct human participant research
    • Employees and students working in labs on campus
    • Employees in Housing, Food Services and Plant Operations
    • Athletics coaching staff and front-line employees
    • Students living in Waterloo Residence, attending in-person classes, participating in athletics, or working on campus

    Please note screen is for asymptomatic employees and students only. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 you should contact the Health Services COVID-19 Testing Assessment Centre.

    You can learn more and book appointments on the Rapid Screening webpage.

    Healing space event for those impacted by Islamophobia

    A message from Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion (HREI).

    Healing Space graphic.The Equity Office at the University of Waterloo is inviting current students, faculty and staff from the Muslim community as well as those impacted by Islamophobia to attend a virtual healing space led by the Coalition for Muslim Women KW. We know that Islamophobia impacts Muslims as well as those who can be perceived as Muslims, particularly racialized individuals.

    The Healing Space will take place virtually on June 23, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Registration is required.

    Islamophobia is prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims that leads to exclusion, discrimination, and in extreme cases, acts of violence against Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslims (Runnymede Trust, 1997).

    This will be an open space led by culturally sensitive facilitators to share feelings, concerns, and emotions related to the recent hate crime committed in London, Ontario and for the ongoing hate crimes that continue to permeate the region and the province.

    Senate meets today and other notes

    The University's Senate has its June meeting today at 3:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. Among the agenda items:

    • A motion that Senate approve the creation of an Applied Mathematics Engineering specialization with three themes and inactivate the three separate Applied Mathematics Engineering specializations created in error as of 1 September 2019;
    • A motion to approve Kristina Llewellyn (Renison University College) as the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo (AFIW) faculty representative, replacing Cristina Vanin, term to 30 April 2022 on Senate's Executive Committee and Cristina Vanin (Renison University College) as the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo (AFIW) faculty representative, term to 30 April 2022, on Senate's Finance Committee;
    • A motion to approve the establishment of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics. This proposed Institute would be a Faculty-level Institute governed by the Faculty of Environment.
    • A motion to approve changes to the Applied Mathematics Minor effective 1 September 2022; and
    • A motion to approve changes to the Computational Fine Art Specialization effective 1 September 2022.

    Dan Brown, president of the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW), will give a presentation to Senate.

    The Centre for Extended Learning is hosting an Open Education Resources (OER) Workshop for Copyright, Licensing, Sourcing and Selection on June 29. Carmen Peters and Kathryn Blair will be facilitating the workshop.

    “Learn how to search for and ethically use open educational resources in your course materials,” says a note from CEL. “This introductory workshop covers copyright, licensing, sourcing, and selection of OERs. Join us for this interactive session Wednesday, June 29, 2021, between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. in Teams. If you would like to discuss a particular type of OER/repository/subject area during the workshop, please contact us.”

    Registration is required.

    Link of the day

    National Indigenous Peoples Day

    When and Where to get support

    Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

    Instructors can visit the Keep Learning website to get support on adapting their teaching and learning plans for an online environment.

    Course templates are available within your course in LEARN to help you build and edit your content and assignment pages quickly.

    The following workshops, webinars, and events are offered by the KL team (CTE, CEL, ITMS, LIB):

    Employees can access resources to help them work remotely, including managing University records and privacy of personal information. Here are some tips for staying healthy while working from home.

    Stay informed about COVID cases on campus by consulting the COVID case tracker.

    The Writing and Communication Centre has virtual services and programs to help undergrads, grad students, postdocs and faculty members with academic writing.

    Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

    The Centre for Career Action assists undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and alumni through navigating career services that are right for them. You can attend a one-on-one appointment or same day drop-in session at the CCA for assistance with cover letter writing, career planning and much more. You can also book an appointment online or visit our Live Chat to connect with our Client Support Team. The CCA is here to help you.

    If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

    The Library has published a resource guide on how to avoid information overload.

    The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

    The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

    The Indigenous Initiatives Office is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the university Indigenization strategy.

    The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at St. Paul’s University College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

    WUSA supports for students:

    Peer support  - MATES, Glow Centre, RAISE, Women’s Centre - Visit to book an appointment

    Bike Centre – Open via Appointments and Rentals

    Campus Response Team, ICSN, Off Campus Community and Co-op Connection all available online. Check for more details.

    Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Student Life Centre. If you have any questions please email us at

    Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at caps@wusa.caMore information is available.

    WUSA Commissioners who can help in a variety of areas that students may be experiencing during this time:

    WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

    Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

    When and Where (but mostly when)

    Healthy Warriors at Home (Online Fitness)

    Fitness Classes on Warrior Field. Starting June 14. Power Yoga, HIIT and Zumba. Only $4/class. Advanced registration required.

    Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join your fellow Warriors, donate blood and help us win the Blood Battle against Laurier for a second year in a row. Set up a profile or add the PFL code: UNIV960995 to your account if you have a account already. Questions? Contact

    Drop-in to Warrior Virtual Study Halls on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Come together in this virtual space to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

    Renison English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

    Bike Month, Tuesday, June 1 to Wednesday, June 30.

    Lunchtime Performance: Deantha Edmunds, Canada's First and Only Inuk Professional Classical Singer, Monday, June 21, 12 noon.

    Dissertation Boot Camp Week, Monday, June 21 to Thursday, June 24.

    English Conversation Circles, Monday, June 21, 8:00 a.m.

    University Senate Meeting, Monday, June 21, 3:30 p.m.

    Virtual Writing Café, Tuesday, June 22, 9:00 a.m.

    Concept: Commercializing your craft, Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.

    English Conversation Circles, Tuesday, June 22, 4:00 p.m.

    NEW - Healing Space event, Wednesday, June 23, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Registration is required.

    Social Justice Wednesdays - Virtual Talk with Dr. Kim Hong Nguyen, “Mean Girl Feminism: White Feminist Outrage and Salvation”, Wednesday, June 23, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    Concept Working Session: Lean Business Model, Wednesday, June 23, 5:30 p.m., virtual event.

    International education consultation meeting hosted by Waterloo International, Monday, June 28, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    NEW - Open Education Resources (OER) Workshop: Copyright, Licensing, Sourcing and Selection, June 29, 10:00 a.m. Registration Required.

    The Honourable Murray Sinclair - National Indigenous History Month Keynote, Tuesday, June 29, 1:00 p.m.

    Concept Intro Session: Pitch to Win, Tuesday, June 29, 5:30 p.m., virtual event.

    Canada Day holiday, most University operations closed, Thursday, July 1.

    University holiday, most operations closed, Friday, July 2.

    WatITis proposal submission deadline, Thursday, July 8.