By Eula Mengullo, December 16 2022—
The University of Calgary has introduced a new online module on Indigenous history and culture called “Beginning the Journey Towards Reconciliation.” The course is offered by the Office of Human Resources in partnership with the Office of Indigenous Engagement.
In an interview with the Gauntlet, Lauren Remple, human resources representative on the development of the course, speaks about its significance to the campus community in forwarding reconciliation efforts.
“It’s a three hour and a half course and it’s open for all staff and students,” said Remple. “It’s very interactive, so there’s a number of opportunities for learners to participate in activities, as well as journal their thoughts on the course [with] some prompting questions.”
The course begins with pedagogy behind land acknowledgements, the different terminologies of Indigenous peoples in Canada — the distinction between First Nations, Métis and Inuits — and addresses common misconceptions of Indigenous peoples by unpacking these myths. It also covers the history and legacy of residential schools while giving the opportunity to learn how to actively contribute to reconciliation.
“We wrap things up with an opportunity for learners to review a website called 150 Acts of Reconciliation,” said Remple. “This website provides folks with tangible or bite-sized pieces of ways that they can contribute to reconciliation.
“[Afterwards] the course also [offers] an invitation for learners to continue their learning journey. The course being called Beginning the Journey [so] it’s really meant to be a foundational course that’s an inch deep in a mile-wide of the Indigenous experience,” Remple continued.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the initiative, Remple discussed that this was both in accordance with the calls-to-action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as a response to the campus Indigenous strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p.
“This course answers predominantly in response to call-to-action number 92 within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which states that employers should be providing opportunities for the staff to learn more about the history and legacy of colonization in Canada,” said Remple.
“It’s also a more granular level response to several of the recommendations within our Indigenous strategy ii’ taa’poh’to’p, which are around building intercultural capacity from an Indigenous lens across our campus,” she continued.
Prior to the course being converted into a self-paced module, the Office of Human Resources also led an in-person workshop called “Towards Reconciliation, the History and Legacy of Colonization of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.” Part of the reason the course was introduced virtually was so that it would be a flexible learning opportunity that could encompass the wider campus community.
The three hour, non-credit module is open for both staff and students at the U of C. Students can access the course through Enterprise Learning by logging into their myUofC portal.
To learn more about the course and the Indigenous strategy, visit the U of C website.