Indigenizing universities through community-based work: Opinion


In a recent article for The Conversation, University of Victoria Assistant Professor Deondre Smiles discusses how university Indigenization efforts must involve more authentic consultation and relationships with the local nations and lands. Smiles writes that plans to hire Indigenous faculty members and staff and increase the visibility of Indigenous ways of being and knowing often include an assumption that Indigenous scholars are better able to interface with local Indigenous communities. In reality, Smiles writes, Indigenous scholars do not necessarily share compatible worldviews and practices with one another, do not always have easier “access” to local Indigenous communities, and may be working as guests on other nations’ lands. Smiles concludes by encouraging institutions to engage in more meaningful consultation through initiatives such as offering funding and recognition for community-based work and relationship-building efforts, and ensuring that consultations with local Indigenous communities uplift their perspectives without burdening them with extra time and labour.

The Conversation