The agreement marks a formal commitment from both parties to work together, strengthen their relationship and advance reconciliation. SFU commits to promoting success and achievement of Tsleil-Waututh Nation learners and supporting the Nation’s cultural, economic, social, environmental, health, and community priorities.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation will provide guidance to support SFU-s ongoing decolonizing and Indigenizing work. As part of the agreement, both parties will meet at least once a year to review and evaluate activities and identify new initiatives to build an inclusive future.
The agreement also outlines key areas of shared interests, such as:
- Representing Tsleil-Waututh content, history and hÉ™nÌ“qÌ“É™minÌ“É™mÌ“ language in SFU materials, departments, acknowledgements, and curriculum
- The exchange of information and expertise to strengthen services and programs at SFU for TWN and Indigenous students
- Building on the success of the Indigenous languages program at SFU so it is seen as a worldwide model for Indigenous languages revitalization
- Developing and implementing Tsleil-Waututh student and staff recruitment and retention initiatives
- Exploring opportunities to partner with SFU Departments on a variety of cultural, economic and social development, health, and environmental projects
- 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
- Working together to develop research projects that benefit both TWN and SFU
- Increasing the presence of Tsleil-Waututh artwork and public signage throughout campuses within Tsleil-Waututh territory
- Working together to develop and implement initiatives involving Tsleil-Waututh youth and supporting Tsleil-Waututh students at SFU
The signing event took place at the Indigenous Garden during the first week of fall semester classes with opening remarks from Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Jennifer (Jen) Thomas and SFU President and Vice-Chancellor Joy Johnson.
-As an Indigenous government, education is a core value of sÉ™lilwÉ™taÉ¬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation),- says 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.-
-We are thankful to be developing a stronger relationship with SFU, which will include meaningfully increasing sÉ™lilwÉ™taÉ¬-s presence within all areas of SFU for the benefit of past, present, and future generations,- she adds.
-Our work with Host Nations is incredibly important to SFU-s ongoing commitment to Uphold Truth and Reconciliation,- says SFU President and Vice Chancellor Joy Johnson. -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.-
Tsleil-Waututh Nation member Seth George served as master of ceremonies and additional speakers responded to the signing including: Provost and Vice-President Academic Dilson Rassier, Councillor Dennis Thomas, Faculty of Environment Dean Naomi Krogman and former director of Tseil-Waututh Community Development Angela George. Tsleil-Waututh Nation drummers performed traditional songs to accompany the ceremony.
SFU respectfully acknowledges its three campuses reside on the unceded traditional territories of the xÊ·mÉ™Î¸kÊ·É™yÌ“É™m (Musqueam), Sá¸µwxÌ±wù7mesh Éxwumixw (Squamish), sÉ™lilwÉ™taÉ¬ (Tsleil-Waututh), qÌ“ícÌ“É™yÌ“ (Katzie), kÊ·ikÊ·É™Æ›Ì“É™m (Kwikwetlem), Qayqayt, Kwantlen, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen peoples.
SFU also recently marked the renewal of a three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU with the Squamish Nation and continues to demonstrate a commitment to developing meaningful partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities as a whole.