Building reconciliation through undergraduate education

The University of Saskatchewan is featured in The New York Times showcasing its success in Indigenous engagement and reconciliation.

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U of S Graduation Powwow 2017 (credit: David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca )

In The New York Times article, President Peter Stoicheff spoke of the university’s initiatives on campus to bolster Aboriginal success, including involvement with reconciliation initiatives.

“If it’s not going to be us in a province like this, leading the universities’ response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who is it going to be?” he said. “If not now, when?” 

The feature goes on to mention a new course being offered in Kinesiology, KIN 398.3 – Indigenous Wellness.  This course is being developed by Dr. Leah Ferguson, and supported through the Curriculum Innovation Fund administered by the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Offered for the first time in the 2017-18 academic year, this course will embrace a wholistic approach to Indigenous wellness, and introduce Kinesiology undergraduate students to the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of Indigenous health, physical activity, and well-being. 

Examination of the effects of colonialism on Indigenous peoples in Canada will provide a background to understanding contemporary wellness.  Students will integrate historical and contemporary knowledge and practices about Indigenous wellness, and critically examine ways to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action as growing professionals in areas related to education, health, and sport. 

The course will integrate Indigenous ways of learning about physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of wellness through sharing circles, oral storytelling, relationship building, critical reflection, and engagement in ceremony. 

By helping students develop and learn to display awareness for Indigenous wellness, the course will address Kinesiology undergraduate citizenship goals whereby students recognize, respect, and respond to the interests and needs of diverse populations. 

With the first KIN 398.3 students set to begin in September, 2017, the College of Kinesiology is very proud to be a part of a larger process on our campus to broaden our collective understanding and take true steps towards building reconciliation.