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Terms of reference

Indigenous Directions Leadership Council (IDLC)

Ratified on June 8, 2020

The Indigenous Directions Leadership Council (IDLC) acknowledges that Concordia University is located on unceded Indigenous lands. The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is recognized as the custodians of the Lands and Waters known as Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, where Concordia is situated. As such, it is important that our collective values and methods of governance and interaction are grounded in local knowledge and ways of being.

The IDLC is guided by the Kaswentha or Two Row Wampum Belt (see above), an original agreement between the Rotinonhsión:ni Confederacy, of which the Kanien’kehá:ka are one of the six-member nations, and Dutch settler-colonizers. It was later adopted by French and British settlers. The Kaswentha exemplifies the principles of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect, and non-interference between the Rotinonhsíon:ni Confederacy and European settler-colonizers. It provides a guiding framework for how Indigenous and settler peoples can imagine and work towards building our future relationships based on peaceful co-existence, respect, and harmony. These Terms of Reference lay out our reciprocal responsibilities to each other and all our relations, and also articulate the ethical, accountable relationship that members of the IDLC and the University share with each other.

At the heart of how the IDLC conducts itself are the Kanien’kehá:ka values of Ka’nikonhrí:io (a good mind that is caring and compassionate with self and towards others), Skén:nen (inner peace), and Ka’shatsténhsera (collective strength).

The purpose of the Terms of Reference is to describe the operational, administrative and reporting relationships between the IDLC and the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs and reflects the roles, responsibilities and powers of the IDLC as a governing council overseeing the implementation of Concordia University’s Indigenous Directions Action Plan1.

The Terms of Reference do not affect, modify, limit or interfere with the primary responsibilities of any of its parties.

1 See

The IDLC is a governing council whose mandate is to drive institutional change through the decolonization and indigenization of Concordia University. The IDLC provides leadership to the University, and undertakes this work for the benefit of past, present, and future students, faculty and staff, to prepare the ground for ongoing and increasing efforts to recalibrate the University’s internal and external relationships with Indigenous peoples.

The IDLC oversees and guides the implementation of the Indigenous Directions Action Plan in partnership with the Concordia University community. The IDLC provides advice and makes recommendations to the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, senior management and other university stakeholders on matters related to the decolonization and indigenization of the University. 

The Terms of Reference will become effective on the date of their official approval by the IDLC and the Provost and will remain in effect for a period of three years or until new Terms of Reference are agreed to by all parties.

The IDLC is committed through the Chair to report to the University’s senior administration. The Chair will keep the Provost advised of issues and events that may concern the Provost or the President in the exercise of their responsibilities. The Provost and the Chair will consult with each other on relevant actions and strategies and will keep each other informed on trends, emerging issues and results achieved in relation to the implementation of the Action Plan. The Provost and the Chair will meet as required to discuss issues relating to the delivery of the IDLC’s mandate.

The IDLC acknowledges that it is accountable to the University and to Indigenous peoples in exercising its mandate. The Chair is accountable to the IDLC to report to the Provost in a timely, accurate and transparent manner, the issues and concerns of the IDLC.

Concordia University recognizes that the IDLC is a statutory entity which exercises powers and performs duties in accordance with its mandate. The University will ensure that the support or services provided to the IDLC are of the same quality and standard as provided to other such bodies.

The Provost is responsible for:

  1. Supporting the activities of the IDLC to ensure that its mandate is being fulfilled.
  2. Reviewing, approving and presenting, in collaboration with the Chair, the estimated/recommended annual budget to support the activities of the IDLC.
  3. Consulting with the Chair as appropriate when significant new directions for the implementation of the Action Plan are contemplated or when measures or initiatives are taken that may affect the mandate of the IDLC.
  4. Ensuring that proposed institutional changes are accompanied by a recommendation on the continued need for the IDLC’s governance, advice and guidance.
  5. Meeting with the Chair as required.

The Chair is responsible for:

  1. Directing the affairs of the IDLC within its mandate.
  2. Ensuring that the IDLC carries out its responsibilities.
  3. Providing advice and guidance to senior management, in accordance with IDLC decisions and recommendations, and seeking policy direction in specific instances.
  4. Keeping the Provost advised of issues or events that concern or can reasonably be expected to concern him or her in the exercise of their duties.
  5. Managing the IDLC’s annual budget.
  6. Producing and reviewing the IDLC’s annual report and bringing it forward to the Provost by July 31 of each year.
  7. Attending and/or making presentations before various stakeholders on matters related to the work of the IDLC.

Members of the IDLC are responsible for:

  1. Identifying priorities related to the Indigenous Directions Action plan through relationship-building with university and Indigenous community stakeholders;
  2. Providing guidance, advice and consultation on matters related to the Indigenous Directions Action Plan to the University community;
  3. Actively participating in, and providing leadership and strategic direction on the implementation of the Indigenous Directions Action Plan;
  4. Contributing to consensus-based decision-making;
  5. Attending monthly meetings as per membership rules outlined in section 9 of these Terms of Agreement;
  6. Adhering to the Code of Relational and Ethical Conduct.

The IDLC is funded by the University. The Chair is the signatory for all expenditures approved by the IDLC. The allocated budget includes funds for meetings, professional development, elder support and community engagement. The IDLC also manages the Action Plan Support Fund2.

Financial procedures of the IDLC must be in accordance with the established directives and guidelines of Concordia University’s Financial Services.

Responsibility for the maintenance of documentation and information to support expenditures is assigned to the Chair.

2 See

The IDLC is composed of 12 members. The Senior Director, Indigenous Directions acts as Chair and may appoint an alternate chair as required. Membership in the IDLC consists of:

  • The Senior Director, Indigenous Directions
  • The Director, Decolonizing Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • 2 Special Advisors to the Provost
  • The Senior Advisor, Indigenous Directions
  • 1 Indigenous student services representative
  • 2 faculty members
  • 2 staff members
  • 1 undergraduate student
  • 1 graduate student

Staff and faculty members shall serve for a term of three years. Student members shall serve for a term of one year, conditional on their good standing3 as students. Members on sabbatical leave or extended sick leave shall continue to hold membership through the duration of their term during their absence. Student members shall serve the remainder of their term should it expire after graduation.

All terms of office are renewable pending consensus from the IDLC.

Members will be invited to join the IDLC by submitting a brief biography and letter of intent to the IDLC. Member selection will be made by consensus.

The IDLC reserves the right to revise and/or revoke membership in the following cases:

  1. A member is frequently absent without good cause.
  2. A member is habitually disruptive and impedes the good conduct of business.
  3. A member demonstrates a clear conflict of interest.

3 A student in good standing is understood to be a student who is registered at Concordia University and attending classes and/or working with a thesis supervisor.

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