January 25, 2022
OUSA releases “Indigenous Students” policy paper
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the final policy paper approved by OUSA’s Fall 2021 General Assembly, Indigenous Students. The paper was written by, and in collaboration with, Indigenous students from OUSA member schools.
"It is vital that institutions commit to action plans created by Indigenous Peoples to support all Indigenous Peoples within academic spaces, and that we create environments that are inclusive and encouraging for Indigenous students, faculty and staff," said Emily DuBois Brooks, Indigenous Students policy paper author. “A commitment to honouring the needs of Indigenous students cannot be done without the commitment to include, honour and support all Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, experiences and expression.”
This paper was written collaboratively, under the leadership and direction of Indigenous students, and represents a first step in OUSA’s commitment to respecting and centering Indigenous voices. The policy paper identifies some of the key concerns faced by Indigenous students across OUSA’s member schools, including those related to access, decolonization and sovereignty, support services, and the classroom. Although these concerns were identified through meaningful consultation with Indigenous students, we recognize that Indigenous students are not a monolith and therefore this policy paper will not capture all of the concerns faced by Indigenous students.
The recommendations in this paper were developed by Indigenous student authors, contributors, and collaborators, and are intended to be a starting point for change towards inclusivity, equity, and safety for all Indigenous students. A key principle defining the recommendations is collaboration and consent, which requires ongoing consultation, collaboration, and consent. To this end, all recommendations included in this policy must be implemented under Indigenous leadership.
"As important as this work is, I am reluctant to send such a well-constructed document to governments that do not respect Indigenous People's rights," said Connor Lafortune, Indigenous Students policy paper author. "If history is any indication of what's to come, I can only conclude that it will surely take more than a policy paper to incite true meaningful change."
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by Indigenous students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed unanimously by OUSA’s Steering Committee and Indigenous student delegates on October 31, 2021 at OUSA’s Fall General Assembly, held virtually.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance