As communities in Niagara and across the country marked National Indigenous Peoples Day on Friday, June 21, Brock University was anticipating the arrival in just over a week of Amos Key Jr., its first-ever Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement.
Greg Finn, the University’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic, said Brock constantly seeks to be an inclusive post-secondary leader in Indigenous issues, and creating this new leadership position speaks to that commitment.
“Four years ago, Brock invited Shirley Cheechoo to become the first Indigenous person and the first woman to be installed as our Chancellor,” said Finn. “Shirley has worked closely with senior administration to advance the discussion around Indigenous issues.
“Brock has made significant strides in this area, beginning with the recommendations of the Indigenous Educational Advisory Committee, which included the appointment of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement. This position will provide transformational vision, leadership and support to the University as it looks to further Indigenize the campus and academic curriculum.”
The University announced it was creating the new position in December 2018, on a day when two statues of Indigenous military leaders John Norton and John Brant were installed overlooking Brock’s Indigenous Healing Garden. The position was established in consultation with the Aboriginal Education Council, Two-Row Council, the Tecumseh Centre as well as Indigenous students, staff and faculty.
Key’s hiring was unanimously recommended by the search committee to serve in the senior leadership role, which will be dedicated to supporting Indigenous education and community engagement initiatives. Key, who had been an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Studies, begins his tenure at Brock on Monday, July 1.
“I am excited with the opportunity to bring and share my Indigenous lens and philosophy to Brock at this time in my career,” he said. “I hope to work with colleagues to embed and put into practice the spirit of some of the 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and many of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and not just those that call to academia.”
Brock President Gervan Fearon said the University established the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement role to advance and lead Brock’s goal to strengthen relationships of trust with Indigenous communities and partners across all sectors and activities of the University.
He said the new Vice-Provost role advances the University’s key priority under its new Strategic Plan of fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.