As we enter National Indigenous History Month, we must take time to reflect on the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Canada. This month offers us an opportunity to honor the resilience, wisdom, and achievements of Indigenous communities, while also acknowledging ongoing struggles, and the work that remains to be done in advancing decolonization and reconciliation. 

As you may recall in 2022, we fully committed to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization at the University of Waterloo. We, therefore, have a responsibility to center Indigenous perspectives in our curriculum, research and community engagement efforts. We continue to work collaboratively with Indigenous scholars, leaders and organizations to decolonize our practices, promote Indigenous knowledge systems and support the educational aspirations of Indigenous students. 

This fall, the University of Waterloo's main campus is introducing a new outdoor space dedicated to teaching, celebrating and raising awareness about Indigenous peoples and their cultural practices. The gathering space will host events, celebrations and gatherings. It will also serve as an outdoor classroom for educating on Indigenous content. The space will not only be a significant representation of Indigenous presence on campus but will also honor both historical ties to the land and contemporary Indigenous diversity and land usage. Many thanks to the Office of Indigenous Relations, which worked with an Indigenous architect from BrookMcIlroy to consult with members of the Indigenous campus community to develop the structure’s final design.  

Throughout June, our university will be hosting a series of events, discussions, and educational initiatives to amplify Indigenous voices, celebrate Indigenous cultures, and deepen our understanding of Indigenous histories. 

I encourage all members of our community to visit the Indigenous History Month webpage to learn more about and participate in these activities, and to engage thoughtfully in conversations about decolonization and indigenization. 

This month and beyond, let us reaffirm our commitment to truth and reconciliation, to building meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities, and to creating a university environment that is inclusive, respectful and supportive of Indigenous peoples.