A two-day virtual symposium has furthered Indigenization and decolonization at Brock University.
Hosted by the Decolonization Working Group of the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization (PACHRED), Human Rights and Equity, and Aboriginal Student Services, the Decolonization Symposium took place Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 and aimed to generate more space for dialogue surrounding decolonization and what that might look like in educative institutions as well as in greater society.
With a day focused on social justice and another on the arts, Brock’s Acting Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement Robyn Bourgeois said the event offered a chance for all members of the Brock community to learn together.
“Events like this are important because they centre Indigenous ways of knowing and doing, and provide an opportunity for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to come together to engage these ways of knowing and doing,” she said. “I also see this a celebration of Indigenous excellence.”
After hearing from more than a dozen speakers on an array of topics, Decolonization Working Group Co-Chair Lyn Trudeau said the highlight of the event was to have Indigenous community members represented, participating and sharing their perspectives both days.
“This is essential if we are going to have conversations about decolonization,” said Trudeau. “Decolonization must happen in every aspect of life — not just in academia. It was also great to pause for a moment on Day 2 and enjoy the performances that embody the richness and beauty Indigenous Peoples have to offer within the arts.”
Bourgeois said the symposium and the topics discussed also provided continued guidance for the University going forward.
“This event also contributes to normalizing Indigenous ways of knowing and doing within the University with many positive outcomes including enriching Indigenous and non-Indigenous student, staff and faculty experience; creating space for considerations of decolonization and Indigenization; and making Indigenous peoples feel welcome and comfortable at the University,” she said.
Though the event has now concluded, Trudeau said it serves as a reminder of what still needs to be done.
“After holding this event, it is evident that there is not only a need for content of this nature but interest as well,” she said. “We need to keep holding space for Indigenous perspectives at Brock. There is still much work to do.”