It gives me great pleasure to introduce this most recent version of the Indigenous Directions Action Plan. A roadmap to decolonization, the Action Plan embodies Concordia’s continuous engagement with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It also underscores our engagement with the Indigenous students, faculty and staff we welcome to our campus, as well as the Indigenous communities that surround our university and on whose lands we are honored to live, work and study. A living document, the Action Plan reflects the progress that Concordia has made in implementing many of the recommendations from the original action plan released in 2019; but we are equally reminded of the work that remains to be done and of our shared responsibilities that come from our commitment to decolonization.
Although all the actions listed are important, I would like to highlight the series of recommendations related to decolonizing the curriculum as being particularly critical for us as an institution. Indigenous ways of knowing have largely been subsumed by Eurocentric approaches to knowledge and scientific thought. Greater awareness and application of Indigenous knowledge systems and traditions will result in the kind of innovative and critical thinking that Concordia, as a next-gen university, aspires towards. Decolonizing the curriculum asks us to question why we look at the world in the way we do; requires us to reevaluate our frames of reference; and pushes us to think differently. While this rethinking brings Indigenous knowledge into the spotlight, it also sharpens our critical abilities as teachers and researchers, as we train the thinkers and doers of tomorrow.
I thank the members of the Indigenous Directions Leadership Council, as well as the staff of the Indigenous Directions Office, for their ongoing work on the Action Plan, and for more generally guiding the University on its collective journey to decolonization. In particular, I want to thank the IDLC for asking difficult questions and for pushing all of us to recognize the value of Concordia’s commitment to decolonization.
I look forward to our continued collaboration,
Anne Whitelaw, PhD
Provost and Vice-President Academic