U of S will have Indigenous verification policy in place this fall
Policy meant to ensure Indigenous programming, funding goes to Indigenous people
A task force at the University of Saskatchewan is creating an Indigenous verification policy.
The policy is meant to ensure Indigenous programming and funding goes to people who are actually Indigenous.
This comes after some high profile cases of professors across the country who were unable to provide evidence of their Indigenous identity.
Last fall, the CBC reported on the legitimacy of a U of S professor, Carrie Bourassa, who is on administrative leave after claiming to be Metis, Anishnaabe, and Tlingit.
Angela Jaime, interim vice-provost of Indigenous engagement at the U of S and chair of the task force, said faculty, staff and students will need to show documentation starting this fall when applying for Indigenous jobs and programming.
"Those documents will be determined by the Indigenous community, the task force itself that has representation from the Indigenous community both inside the institution and out," said Jaime, who is a member of Pit River Nation in Northern California and Valley Maidu Tribe in the Sacramento Valley.
Examples of documentation would include a Métis Nation-Saskatchewan citizenship card or a letter from the registry that states the individual meets the criteria to be a citizen.
"We're not adjudicating people's identities," Jaime said. "We're not using the term identity in any of the work that we're doing, but rather membership and citizenship of Indigenous communities. So we're looking for that documentation to help provide a path forward."
Kurtis Boyer, a faculty representative from Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and a citizen of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, said the U of S has brought Indigenous communities into the decision making process.
"Before now, Indigenous communities have not been included in this process. And so I think that's a good change," Boyer said.
He said Métis nations are in the process of rebuilding in many areas, including relationships with universities and colleges.
"I think the goal of any Indigenous person when at the university is to transmit knowledge, to protect and be part of that reclamation process of those stories and that culture and that heritage in those institutions," Boyer said.
"That's why it's very important to have people that are genuine there, and genuine in heart. Because in that role, when we have genuine people in that role, the universities are going to be a part of supporting that reclamation process of this nation."
Jaime said the new policy is about "creating a space that is meant for Indigenous people, resources that are meant for Indigenous people to make sure that we don't have fraudulent claims going forward.
"We're working to do an even better job going forward in creating that space of funding resources positions [and], senior leadership positions. And we want to be very clear that it's important that Indigenous voices are holding those spaces."
The task force will submit the policy for final approval next month.
With files from Saskatoon Morning