You can build new futures and strong relationships: support Indigenous initiatives with U of T
Jun 20, 2022
When alumna Lindsey Fechtig led out the University of Toronto’s 2022 Convocation procession, bearing the ceremonial Indigenous Eagle Feather, she was deeply moved by the real support embodied in that symbol.
“Having the institution honour our ways of knowing and doing, and our culture—the significance of this is huge,” said Fechtig (MEd 2015), a member of Curve Lake First Nation.
And in the spirit of inclusion, we can’t do it alone. Please join us!
Your support for U of T’s Indigenous initiatives can remove barriers for students, create opportunities for scholars, and make space for Indigenous voices and knowledge in our communities. Here are four ways you can help.
1. Contribute to Indigenous student scholarships
When Andrea Johns (BA 2021 WDW) started at the University of Toronto as a mature student, all aspects of earning a degree felt overwhelming and inaccessible. But scholarship support helped her realize her potential—not only to graduate, but also to win a President’s Award honouring her advocacy for Indigenous language revitalization.
Scholarships and bursaries ensure that talented students get the chance to complete their educational dreams, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. Your gift to the Indigenous Students’ Scholarship Fund in U of T’s Faculty of Arts & Science supports Indigenous undergraduates enrolled at the University.
In 2021, U of T launched the Indigenous Research Network to support faculty, build community, and implement new and revised curriculums. The network is a culturally safe support, helping faculty meaningfully build on existing Indigenous research strengths at U of T, and address current challenges.
For example, Mikaela D. Gabriel (Italian & Mi’kmaq, Crow Clan) is conducting post-doctoral research at U of T’s Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health. Exploring how traditional knowledge and Elder connections can support Indigenous Peoples’ mental health across life transitions, her work will enhance real-life programming in the community.
Last fall, an Indigenous-led blessing ceremony at U of T Scarborough acknowledged, honoured and paid respects to past, present and future activity on the land—preparing the way for the construction of Indigenous House. It is the first fully Indigenous-designed space across U of T’s three campuses.
A unique, culturally-appropriate and inclusive building, Indigenous House will celebrate and support Indigeneity and Indigenous Ways of Knowing, bringing together our community of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous lifelong learners. And it will be a central hub by which Indigeneity radiates and is absorbed across the Eastern GTA, giving local communities opportunities to learn and experience Indigenous arts, cultures and histories.
4. Support including Indigenous content in classrooms
Furthering reconciliation requires a commitment to making space for Indigenous voices and including Indigenous content in classrooms at all levels. Your support can help the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at U of T as it weaves Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into its Indigenous Education Programs and Initiatives and explores land-centered language, literacy, and school curriculums.
Thank you for your support. Every gift—no matter the size—and every share contributes to building new futures. Together, we can create the inclusive society that ensures everyone gets their chance to grow and thrive.
We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.