National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: UQAT marks the day with concrete actions

ROUYN-NORANDA, QC, Sept. 27, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) marks the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in a variety of ways, but especially by taking concrete action with the university and Quebec community. Reconciliation with First Peoples requires education and, since its creation, UQAT has been actively involved and has made great strides in the integration of First Peoples communities and knowledge. UQAT is thus pursuing its commitment as set out in its Plan de développement 2020-2025 (Development Plan 2020-2025, French only), one of the five goals of which is to shape the future together with First Peoples.

Cultural safety in health sciences programs
New in Fall 2022: the course Introduction à la sécurisation culturelle des Premières Nations et des Inuit (Introduction to First Nations and Inuit Cultural Safety, French only) was added to the training plans for the baccalaureate in nursing (including the DCS-BAC stream). This course is designed to introduce students to the concept of cultural safety in an Indigenous context, to identify the effects of discrimination and racism, and to develop their skills in providing culturally relevant, safe and equitable health care services to First Nations and Inuit people. “This new training is offered since the beginning of the fall 2022 semester and represents the culmination of a clear commitment that UQAT has stated in various forums, notably by adopting the Joyce Principle. We recognise the urgency of teaching and supporting culturally safe care practices in health sciences training programs,” says Joséanne Desrosiers, professor at the Health Sciences Teaching and Research Unit (UER). UQAT had expressed its desire to create a mandatory nursing course on First Peoples’ health issues at the National Reconciliation Forum in 2021.

Raising awareness of the academic community
To mark this commemorative day, UQAT is also organising various face-to-face and distance activities in all its centres and campuses to raise awareness among the entire university community. Information booths, workshops, presentations, thematic exhibition and creation residency will be held from September 26 to October 5. The wearing of orange shirts on September 30 will also be encouraged to recognize the impact of the experiences of former students and Indigenous survivors of the residential school system.

Contributing to reconciliation through the development of knowledge on Indigenous issues  
Recognized for the quality of its training offer on Indigenous issues throughout Quebec, UQAT’s Continuing Education Service recently launched a new training course to better enable citizens to contribute to reconciliation between peoples in order to move towards a more just and inclusive society. Titled Peuples autochtones 101 : Nita kikenimicinam (Apprends à nous connaître), [Indigenous Peoples 101: Nita kikenimicinam (Learn about us)], the training, offered entirely in remote and deferred format, is delivered by some thirty people, the majority of whom are representatives of the eleven different Indigenous nations in Quebec. Its availability to the general public was one of the commitments made by UQAT at the National Forum on Reconciliation in 2021. For the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022, UQAT staff are given time off to attend this new training.

UQAT’s School of Indigenous Studies is unique in Quebec for its multidisciplinary approach to Indigenous studies and offers study programs for people with a personal or professional interest in Indigenous realities. With a cross-cultural approach, the School has many partnerships with Indigenous communities and organisations who share their experience and expertise in our training courses and research projects. In addition, the School has been organising Indigenous Luncheon  Conferences (Dîners-conférences autochtones) for nearly 20 years with renowned speakers addressing various current topics related to Indigenous issues. These conferences are also broadcasted and accessible to the general public. They allow participants to enhance their perspectives on Indigenous issues. The first conference this semester (première conférence de la session) will take place during the Truth and Reconciliation Week on September 28 and will address the Indigenous residential school drama mini-series Pour toi Flora. These activities of the School of Indigenous Studies help educate and sensitize citizens who will support change within this reconciliation movement.

About UQAT
UQAT is an exceptional, community-based and committed university, and has been so for almost 40 years. With three campuses, four centres and service points in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Nord-du-Québec, the Upper Laurentians and Montréal, UQAT has over 6,000 students and offers more than 175 study programs, including Indigenous studies. Since its creation, UQAT has recognized the importance of its special partnership with Indigenous peoples and sees it as a key factor in its development. In 2021, UQAT created the position of Strategic Advisor for Reconciliation and Indigenous Education, held by Ms. Janet Mark, in order to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities with a view to reconciliation.

SOURCE Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)

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