To mark the first national Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the DFA hosted a presentation by Professor Patti Doyle-Bedwell. Patti is a Mi'kmaw woman from Potlotek First Nation. She is Associate Professor with Dal’s Open Learning and Career Development Faculty and Indigenous Studies in FASS. A Master’s graduate of the Schulich School of Law, her thesis focused on compensation for residential school victims. Patti directed the law school’s Indigenous Black and Mi'kmaq Initiative and was the first Mi'kmaq woman to teach in that program. For 10 years, Patti chaired the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She has been recognized by CBC as one of the Best Minds of Our Times, and in 2012 received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee award. Patti is a member of the DFA Executive Committee and was part of the DFA's 2020 Bargaining Team.
Dr. Tara Perrot, DFA President 2021-22
Silence isn’t an option in the face of the horrific discovery of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. This discovery is yet another stark reminder of our history, a history that was documented in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TCR) Report of 2015, as well as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) report of 1996. The loss of these Indigenous children is part of the truth of our past and it needs to be recognized as such. If we are ever to move toward reconciliation, we must acknowledge the inter-generational trauma, colonialism, racism and hurt that continues into the present day.
This is intended not only as a statement of abhorrence, but an invitation to act. If you haven’t read the TCR report, read it. I urge you all to engage with the ‘Calls to Action’ in the TCR as individuals and as a collective. Reach out to your federal representatives and inquire about their progress in moving forward with these actions. Discuss with your department members and unit leaders how you can ensure Indigenous content in your courses. Collaborate with colleagues to encourage Indigenous-centered research. Support Indigenous membership in your community and demand it in your workplace.
Reconciliation is a shared goal and one which requires action. Dalhousie’s Board of Governors and Senate have expressed support for the TRC Call to Action. It’s time to make good on that expression with action.