It is vital to recognize that UWinnipeg is located on Treaty One land, in the heart of the Métis Nation. The treaties constitute the agreements which opened up these lands for settlement, and are fundamental to Canada. We also recognize that the Métis played a pivotal role in bringing our province into confederation. We are one of the top universities in the country for Indigenous participation, with approximately 10 per cent of our student body comprised of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students. We will continue to bring Indigenous people and perspectives into UWinnipeg, be that through students, staff, faculty, community events, or the incorporation of knowledge and culture into content and governance.
In September 2016, UWinnipeg is introducing a mandatory Indigenous course requriement for newly enrolled undergraduate students. Find out more here.
In large part, Indigenous people represent the future of Manitoba and Canada. Winnipeg will be at the epicentre of a new era of Indigenous success. We have an important opportunity to play a pivotal role in partnership with Indigenous people and to define a new future for Canada by continuing to welcome and support Indigenous students. Towards the realization of this priority, we recognize that we must do more to include Indigenous people, perspectives, and knowledge in every aspect of the academy. We also recognize our responsibility to commit to the recommendations made in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, such as working with the community to create opportunities for Indigenous students, collaborating with the K-12 system to create bridge programs to university, offering courses and/or programs in Indigenous languages, and integrating Indigenous knowledge, perspectives, and worldview into our curricula and culture.
We must ensure that there is a shared understanding of what Indigenization means at UWinnipeg, and set measurable goals.
We will do this with guidance from our Indigenous Advisory Circle, and in consultation with students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. As we work to Indigenize our institution, we must also continue to celebrate and support the rich diversity of our student body which includes international students, new Canadians, refugees, mature students, and students with disabilities, among others.
Recognizing that a plurality of world views makes the educational experience richer, our Senate recently approved, in principle, a degree requirement that would see all undergraduate students complete coursework with an Indigenous focus before they graduate. This is just the beginning of our work to help build a place where Indigenous students are welcomed and are successful and where Indigenous knowledge and culture is recognized, respected, understood, and celebrated by all.