Indigenous Connections - Winter 2024 | Volume 10

Thursday, January 25, 2024
The Dana Porter Library and the University of Waterloo sign at sunset in the winter time

Welcome to the 10th issue of Indigenous Connections, the Office of Indigenous Relations Newsletter.

Our seasonal newsletter will keep you up-to-date on what we are working on, ways you can engage with our office, and provide resources to strengthen and apply your knowledge.

In this issue:

A message from Jean Becker Associate Vice-President, Office of Indigenous Relations:

Happy new year! We'd like to take a moment to celebrate and highlight all of the incredible work that was done in 2023 at UWaterloo in decolonization, indigenization and reconciliation and thank you all for the various roles you played in this.  

Here's a look back at some of the highlights of last year...

Highlights of 2023

The Grand River in the summertime on a sunny day

Full tuition waiver announced for local First Nations on whose territory the University of Waterloo is situated

Read the full story here

Jean Becker and Vivek Goel holding a printed copy of the Office of Indigenous Relations 5-year strategic plan

The Office of Indigenous Relations officially launched a five-year strategic plan

An Indigenous dancer in motion wearing bright coloured Indigenous dance regalia

The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre and Office of Indigenous Relations collaborated for the first year ever to bring the 20th annual Pow Wow at United College

Members of the campus community wearing orange and walking Ring Road to honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation recognized on campus with a record-breaking attendance

Treaties Recognition Week

Multiple events and workshops were held to educate and strengthen relationships for all treaty people

Dr. Rheanna Robinson

Indigenous Disabilities Awareness Month was recognized for the first time on campus!

We were honoured to host Dr. Rheanna Robinson. We also hosted a screening of Soop on Wheels and hosted the filmmaker Sandy Greer for a Q&A.

A group of people in a theatre for the film screening of The Experimental Eskimos

Inuit Day was recognized for the first time on campus as we hosted Inuit Elder Minnie Akparook for a talk and a screening of The Experimental Eskimos

And so many more gatherings, fruitful discussions, meetings and forward momentum bringing us into 2024...

A Peek at What's to Come in 2024:

  • Indigenous Community appreciation event in June (stay tuned)
  • Indigenous specific gatherings and initiatives
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis led trainings and workshops for campus community
  • Indigenous student peer mentorship program being developed
  • And more!

Upcoming Events

Indigenous beadwork

Beaders N'Eaters

Work on those deadly crafting skills during "Beaders n' Eaters." Some food will be provided, but we welcome you to bring an item to share. We have dishes and utensils. Bring your favourite craft supplies and spend time chatting away while engaged in creativity. This is also a great place to learn! If you have an interest in beading and want to start, we have folks with experience who can share their gifts. If you have skills you want to show off, the more teachers the merrier! Not into beading, but still want to hang out? Stoodis! We are looking forward to many evenings full of laughter that sends your head flying backwards! 

When: Last Tuesday of every month (Begins January 30, 2024) 6pm-9pm 
Where: EC5 4201 (Office of Indigenous Relations) 

Dr. Kaitlyn Patterson

Setting the Table for Culturally Safe Food Conversations with Inigenous Peoples in Canada

In her webinar, Dr. Patterson will explore the impact of settler colonialism on Indigenous food systems and practices. Dr. Patterson will offer critical reflections on land, food, and health promotion through the lens of the Indigenous food sovereignty movement in Canada. Register here.

When: Wed, Jan 31 at 6pm-7pm 
Where: Online 

Winter Storytelling: A celebration of Indigenous Film

Winter Storytelling: A Celebration of Indigenous Film

Winter has traditionally been a time of rest and storytelling in Indigenous communities. In that tradition, Winter Storytelling: A Celebration of Indigenous Film is a chance to increase dialogue between indigenous and settler communities. In partnership with The Canadian Federation of University Women, we will be showing three Indigenous films at the Princess Twin Cinema! Admission is free and seats will be available free of charge on a first come first serve basis. 

When: January 28, February 5, February 12
Where: Princess Twin Cinema 46 King St N. Waterloo

A vibrant pink and purple illustration of Chelsea Vowel

Chelsea Vowel: Indigenous Speaker Series

Please join us on February 8 for Chelsea's engaging presentation "âniskôhôcikan, Like a String of Beads: Indigenous Futurisms." Indigenous futurisms, a term coined by Grace Dillon and indebted to Afrofuturism, seeks to describe a movement of art, literature, games, and other forms of media that express Indigenous perspectives on the future, present, and past. How can Indigenous futurisms help us think and act otherwise? Registration is appreciated but not required. Everyone is welcome! Register here.

When: Thurs, Feb 8th at 3:00pm-4:20pm 
Where: Online

A white teddy bear wearing a red knitted hat and scarf

Have a Heart Day Gathering and Round Dance Social

Join us for an evening of connection and culture featuring dancing, dinner, crafts, activities for kids and more. Partners includes School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo, Office of Indigenous Relations, SOAHAC and Jordan’s Principle. Dinner will be provided.Please register here.

When: Weds, Feb 14th at 5:30 pm 

Where: University of Waterloo Cambridge Campus @ 7 Melville Street South, Cambridge N1S 2H4, Parking at the south side in the University of Waterloo parking lot 

Funding Opportunity

Golabl Skills Opportunity

The University of Waterloo’s new Global Skills Opportunity will offer 65+ transformational experiences in more than 20 non-traditional locations. The funds from this program will go toward providing travel opportunities to students who are Indigenous, have accessibility needs, or face income barriers. Click here to learn more.

Welcome New Members!

Welcome Tina!

Tina is a second-year Environment and Business student working towards becoming an auditor with environmental certifications. She will be joining us for the winter term as a Program Assistant. Tina’s field of study and passion for the environment are reflected in her belief that businesses are leaders in the community, and they can cause a ripple effect for other businesses and individuals to be more environmentally friendly. In her free time, Tina is fond of the outdoors and enjoys activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, and skiing. She also takes pleasure in playing around with technology: specifically, she likes to build keyboards and computers. Tina is joining us as a co-op for the Winter 2024 term.


Welcome Aislinn!

Aislinn is a third-year student working towards her bachelors in sociology. Once they have obtained their BA, Aislinn hopes to obtain a master's in social work, and go on to become a social worker specializing in harm reduction and working on the front lines of the homelessness crisis in the Waterloo Region. Aislinn is passionate about community building and making positive changes in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. She is joining our team as a social media coordinator; where she will be bringing social media experience, she has obtained from her previous CO-OP placement to our team. In her spare time, Aislinn enjoys playing around with various art mediums—notably, painting, and writing poetry and short stories. 


Welcome Sieara!

Sieara is mixed settler and Oji-Cree of Lac Seul First Nation. She is also a Master of Social Work- Indigenous field of study program student at Wilfrid Laurier University. As part of her program, she is doing a placement term with the Office of Indigenous Relations, where she will be supporting the Director at the Office of Indigenous Relations with opportunities and programming related to Indigenous wholistic wellness. By gaining knowledge and experience about what it means to be an Indigenous social worker and helper, in the future, Sieara hopes to engage with wholistic healing practices and to work with an Indigenous organization that is operated by and for an Indigenous community, likely in an urban setting. Outside of work, Sieara’s hobbies include reading and beadwork.


Indigenization on Campus

Amanda St. Marie

Announcing the new Environment Indigenous Initatives Manager

Waterloo Warriors Hockey team

Reconciliation and cross-culture relationship building through hockey

Savanna Sloat

Creating spaces for belonging

The Faculty of Science is embedding Indigenous knowledges and spaces into science scholarship

Read the full story here.

Territorial Acknowledgement

As the Canadian Association of University Teachers described in their guide to territorial acknowledgment for Canadian universities, “[…] acknowledging territory is only the beginning of cultivating strong relationships with the First Peoples of Canada." 

The University of Waterloo is located on the Haldimand Tract and learning the history of this Treaty is an important way to not only connect the past with the present, but also provides space and time to reflect on the ways in which we are all treaty people.

Learn more about the Haldimand Tract with Phil Monture, who is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River. From 1975 to July 2002, Phil was the Director of the Land Claims Research Office at the Six Nations of the Grand River. Phil's video lecture was recorded as part of Treaties Week 2020.

Visit the Indigenous Relations Territorial Acknowledgement resource page to learn more about creating your own acknowledgement.