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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Employee Equity Census

The annual Employee Equity Census is now open. All employees are asked to complete this confidential census at their earliest convenience. It will only take a few minutes and can be accessed through Workday by following these instructions, then clicking on the following link:$12683.htmld 

If you have completed the census, thank you for taking this opportunity to help shape equity-based initiatives across the University. Please spread the word and encourage your colleagues to participate, too! For more information about this initiative, please visit the Equity Data Strategy website or email 

Please join us in welcoming Emily Brant-Inclusive Communications Manager, Indigenous Relations!

Emily Brant (she/her) is a Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk) communications manager, author, and speaker from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She works at the intersections of communication, personal development, and decolonization. Emily is passionate about empowering and supporting Indigenous peoples to live their most soul-fulfilling and authentic life, in a way that honours their roots and their truest self.

Emily started her new role on campus yesterday. She will work closely with the OIR team, spending time both in the Office of Indigenous Relations and the University Relations space. Emily is responsible for writing and developing a wide range of communication products in support of the University’s strategic objectives, specifically supporting the Office of Indigenous Relations and other strategic communications at the University of Waterloo.
We are happy you are here, Emily!

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Waterloo Welcomes an Eagle Staff

On March 27, the University of Waterloo community came together to welcome an Eagle Staff to our institution. The day began with a Sunrise Ceremony followed by a formal introduction ceremony held at Federation Hall. The ceremony began with drumming from the Cedar Hill Singers and a procession, followed by a prayer of thanks led by Elder Bill Woodworth. Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Elder Myeengun Henry, introduced the sacred Eagle Staff on behalf of the University’s Indigenous community, marking an important step in Waterloo’s journey towards reconciliation.

Read the full story from Waterloo News.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Welcome to the Team!

We are excited to introduce Jen Smerdon who joined the Office of Indigenous Relations February 6th as Administrative Manager.  Jen is of mixed ancestry with maternal Anishinaabe lineage from Matachewan First Nation in Ontario.  Jen brings a wealth of administrative experience, financial management skills and knowledge of university systems to the team gained from her work experience in the not-for-profit sector, and her previous role as Advancement Coordinator, Faculty of Science. Please join us in welcoming Jen to the Office of Indigenous Relations team!   

It was a powerful moment at the PAC on Carl Totzke Court, on January 27, 2023 as Indigenous Knowledge Keeper Myeengun Henry led UWaterloo's first ever Eagle Feather Raising Ceremony between the women's and men's basketball games. The ceremony was an act of reconciliation, honoring Indigenous athletes.  The eagle feather was raised just prior to the singing of the National Anthem, and was accompanied by an honor song intended to honor the athletes. Myeengun Henry remarked, "raising this eagle feather gives Indigenous athletes the opportunity to be proud of what they do." By representing Indigenous cultures in tandem with the National Anthem, the ceremony signified a path forward where the original relationship between Indigenous folks and settlers is represented and respected. Chi miigwech/ Nia:wen to all that participated. It was truly moving.

In November 2021, CTE hired Leslie Wexler as a Senior Educational Developer in Indigenous Knowledges and Anti-Racist (IKAR) Pedagogies, followed some months later by Nahannee Schuitemaker, Madison Hill, and Jessica Rumboldt who work in more specific areas of IKAR. Having now settled into their individual positions and developed into a distinct five-person team, which includes Savannah Sloat, Manager of Indigenous Initiatives in the Faculty of Science, we asked each of them to share their role, current area of focus, and vision for the future of IKAR at Waterloo. 

Are you a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit student at the University of Waterloo? We need your voice!

The Office of Indigenous Relations is seeking one Undergraduate student and one Graduate student to join the Indigenous Advisory Circle.

In this role you will be asked to provide your input and feedback regarding Indigenous initiatives across campus. You will be joining a circle of Indigenous staff, faculty, alum, community members and Elders in discussions that inform the work of decolonization and Indigenization across campus. This is an opportunity to share from your personal experience and perspective as a student.  You will contribute to the growth and strengthening of the Indigenous landscape at UWaterloo.

We are asking for a commitment of one year as a Circle member, which includes a minimum of four meetings seasonally that are 1.5 – 2 hours in length, as well as consideration to participate in other Indigenous Advisory Circle activities such as events and community meetings. Financial compensation will be provided for your valuable time and important input.

If interested, please send us an email at and share a bit about yourself, including why you are interested in joining the Circle.  If you  have any questions about the Indigenous Advisory Circle we are always happy to chat with you.

We will review all expressions of interest Friday, January 13th, 2023.

We look forward to hearing from you! Miigwech/ Nia:wen.

*The people accepting these roles must be First Nations, Métis, or Inuit*

We are pleased to let you know that registration for the Global Map the System 2023 competition is now open. Students have until January 31, 2023, to register for this competition for a chance to win up to $2,000 in cash prizes and compete at the virtual Canadian Final and Global Final at Oxford University, UK. In Map the System, students learn how to explore, probe, and research complex social or environmental issues, using Systems Thinking tools and approaches. This competition is open to both undergrad and grad students.  

 For more information, students can visit our website and check out Student Resources.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

It's Giving Tuesday!

Today, people across our campuses and around the world will come together in support of their communities and the causes they care most about to create a better world for all. Today, you have the opportunity to be a hero, and make a difference in the lives of UWaterloo students by joining the Giving Tuesday movement, and making a charitable gift to the University of Waterloo.

Waterloo’s Giving Tuesday campaign features 43 exciting challenges, including two special ones for our own faculty and staff to support. Your gift to one of these challenges — or to any Giving Tuesday challenge or fund of your choice — can help unlock up to $2,000 in additional funds to make an even greater impact on the experiences of our students.

Please make your gift before midnight tonight. For more details, visit Waterloo’s Giving Tuesday website

To donate to Indigenous Relations, check out

  • Sign up to join ERS 275 Indigenous Sustainability Entrepreneurship! This course consists of having an various Indigenous Entrepreneurs across different industries (beauty, fashion, agriculture, health & wellness, and more) come join our class each week to speaks to their entrepreneurial journeys, their connections to the environment, sustainability, and so much more! Readings and further learning materials focus on relevant topics from each week’s entrepreneur’s field/industry. Notably, our course will give students a unique opportunity to help our Indigenous Entrepreneur’s solve sustainability related issues/problems that they are currently facing. Offering students well rounded, deep learning that they can benefit from beyond the classroom! This course is has no prerequisites and is open to all students, of any faculty, of any year! Just reach out to Dr Leonard about course permission code to sign up to join today! For any questions or more information please contact Dr Leonard at