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SFU, Tsleil-Waututh Nation sign agreement to advance reconciliation

SFU and the regional First Nation will look to find key initiatives to build on inclusivity for students, faculty and visitors to the Burnaby campus.
Representatives from səlilwətaɬ (the Tsleil-Waututh Nation) signed a Relationship Protocol agreement with Simon Fraser University (SFU) to advance reconciliation on Sept. 6, 2023.

Representatives from səlilwətaɬ (the Tsleil-Waututh Nation) have signed a Relationship Protocol agreement with Simon Fraser University (SFU) to work together, strengthen their relationship and advance reconciliation.

As part of the agreement, formally signed on Sept. 6, both the parties will come together at least once a year to review and evaluate activities and identify new initiatives to build an inclusive future, a news release noted.

The agreement outlines areas of shared interests, including exploring opportunities to partner with different departments at the university on variety of cultural, economic and social development, health and environmental projects, building on the Indigenous languages program, which can be regarded as a worldwide model for Indigenous languages revitalization and working together to develop research projects that would benefit both parties.

The signing took place at SFU's Indigenous Garden during the first week of fall semester classes, and in the same month as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Sept. 30.

The university, as part of the agreement, will also be working towards representing Tsleil-Waututh content, history and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language in its materials, departments, acknowledgements, and curriculum as well as increasing the presence of Tsleil-Waututh artwork and public signage throughout campuses within the Tsleil-Waututh territory.

The two parties will also be working together towards strengthen services and programs at SFU for TWN and Indigenous students, developing and implementing Tsleil-Waututh student and staff recruitment and retention initiatives and supporting Tsleil-Waututh Nation moving forward with good governance principles to value sustainable economic development that provides economic, ecological, health and social benefits to the community.

"As an Indigenous government, education is a core value of səlilwətaɬ [Tsleil-Waututh Nation]," said Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Jennifer (Jen) Thomas

"For too long we have been invisible on our own lands, including within the academic institutions that were established around us. This Agreement with SFU symbolizes a significant shift in our relationship, one that is based on mutual respect, true inclusivity, and collaboration to advance our respective goals together."

"Our work with Host Nations is incredibly important to SFU's ongoing commitment to Uphold Truth and Reconciliation," said Joy Johnson, SFU president and vice-chancellor.

"With the signing of this protocol agreement, we hope to continue and strengthen our partnership with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and create new ways for us to walk the path of Reconciliation at SFU."