A rich journey of discovery
As an academic community, the University of Ottawa understands that a plurality of perspectives makes the journey of education and discovery richer for everyone. It is one of the reasons why the University, built on ancestral Algonquin lands, is firmly committed to engaging Indigenous communities and disseminating the Indigenous knowledge, history and cultures on which our country is founded.
It is a commitment evidenced by the Aboriginal Education Council — composed of professors, students and representatives of Indigenous organizations, among others — which aims to build cultural awareness on campus and serves as an important link to Indigenous communities on matters of academic research. Or by the Aboriginal Resource Centre and the newly appointed senior advisor on Aboriginal Initiatives, who act in concert to develop programs that support and benefit First Nations, Inuit and Métis students. This commitment is even reflected in naming the building that houses the Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies in honour of Algonquin Elder and spiritual leader William Commanda.
As we continue to answer the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the University of Ottawa is also dedicated to enhancing our recruitment and retention efforts of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students as well as integrating more Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in the classroom.
On a personal note, this is the last issue of Research Perspectives that I will introduce as president of the University of Ottawa. It has been a genuine privilege to highlight the University’s strengths in research over the past eight years and to conclude with the compelling projects on Indigenous issues currently being championed throughout our institution.
In the words of the Algonquin Nation, meegwetch and madjacin. Thank you and goodbye.
Investing in our shared future
Over the past 20 years, the nature of Indigenous research has changed dramatically. In Canada and around the world, facilitating participatory research that fosters a better understanding of the historical, social and economic conditions of Indigenous populations is seen as crucial to building vibrant and empowered communities.
In the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which brought critical issues to the fore for many, the University of Ottawa has long been committed to collaborative efforts to improve research by and with Indigenous people. For more than a decade, initiatives such as the Faculty of Medicine’s Indigenous Program have recruited and supported Indigenous students throughout their medical education. Similarly, the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Indigenous Health Research Group has studied the implications of improving access to nutritious foods in northern First Nations communities since 2006.
Whether investigating the impact of climate change, nutrition and natural resource extraction on communities and ecosystems in the North, or building on our strengths in law and human rights to become a hub of expertise in Indigenous law and rights, our researchers are deeply involved in a wide range of projects to close the gap between knowledge and action.
In this edition of Research Perspectives, you can read about these and other ways interdisciplinary research on Indigenous issues at the University of Ottawa is producing the knowledge and understanding needed to responsibly and respectfully invest in our shared future.