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Concordia launches a guide to support relationship-building with Indigenous communities

Dewemaagannag/My Relations offers best practices on the path toward decolonizing academia for researchers, faculty and students.
September 27, 2023

Young smiling woman with long, dark hair, wearing glasses, beaded earrings and a turquoise-coloured top. “We hope this guide will be a tool that non-Indigenous faculty, students and staff can use.”

Concordia is marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 with a number of events.

As part of the series, the university’s Office of Community Engagement has launched an important resource to contribute to the decolonization process in academic institutions and to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action

Dewemaagannag/My Relations: Principles and values to decolonize engagement with Indigenous communities is a guide for researchers, academics and students who would like to engage with Indigenous Peoples, organizations and communities.

With contributions from Indigenous experts at Concordia as well as from other universities and organizations in Canada, the guide features key principles and values to help in building relationships, as well as stories from Indigenous people about best practices. It is a resource for self-reflection for non-Indigenous academics and students within universities who are considering research or teaching collaborations with Indigenous communities.

“As universities respond to the call to decolonize and Indigenize their institutions, we hope that this guide will be a tool that non-Indigenous faculty, students and staff can use to reflect on their motivations for this work and then take action to move Indigenous knowledges and processes from the margins to the centre,” says Amanda Shawayahamish, who co-created the guide with Geneviève Sioui, senior coordinator at the Office of Community Engagement.

From respecting Indigenous expertise and protocols to ensuring that Indigenous collaborators benefit from research work, the guide provides advice on applying key principles to transform the way researchers and academics engage with Indigenous individuals, organizations and communities.

An illustration with half circles and the words, Dewemaagannag/My Relations, on the page. Illustration by Amanda Ibarra

“The launch of Dewemaagannag/My Relations means that we now have a resource that offers concrete steps toward decolonization and Indigenization at universities, based on building relationships that are respectful, equitable and truly collaborative,” says Allan Vicaire, senior advisor at Concordia’s Office of Indigenous Directions.

Monica Mulrennan, associate vice-president of research, development and outreach, at Concordia, explains the value of this guide in academic research: “In addition to reducing the burden placed on Indigenous staff and faculty, I am hopeful that this resource will greatly enhance the quality and impact of the research that will be taken under its guidance.”

Based at Concordia’s SHIFT Centre, the Office of Community Engagement was created to develop and sustain respectful and impactful relationships between the university and the diverse communities of Montreal.

Find out more about the guide, Dewemaagannag/My Relations: Principles and values to decolonize engagement with Indigenous communities.

The Office for Community Engagement also co-created the Decolonial Toolbox, which offers the public an educational pathway to understanding contemporary Indigenous realities.



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