Applied Indigenous Scholarship

Participating Faculties: Faculty of Social Science

Project Leaders:
 Professor Chantelle Richmond

Total Project Funding: $350, 000

Funding Period:
3 years


In June 2015, Justice Murray Sinclair and his co-commissioners released their final report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, a multi-year inquiry into the impacts of the Indian residential schools. In this report, Justice Sinclair indicated that the wounds inflicted from the Indian Residential Schools run long and deep not only in affected communities, but rather that the whole country has suffered a prolific break-down of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, fueled mainly by the persistence of racism, discrimination and a general lack of education or awareness about Canadian Aboriginal issues. Justice Sinclair identified the process of reconciliation as fundamental for forging a new, healthy relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, roughly a quarter which were targeted at post-secondary institutions. At the same time, important Indigenous-specific activities were ongoing at Western, including the drafting of the university’s first ever Indigenous Strategic Plan.

As a direct response to both the TRC and to support the Indigenous Strategic Planning efforts, we propose the development of a new IDI on Applied Indigenous Scholarship. Our primary objective is to contribute to reconciliation in the post-secondary educational environment, and our secondary objective is to elevate Western’s standing – nationally and internationally – as a leading university for Applied Indigenous Scholarship. Led by Western’s Indigenous scholars and reinforced by an interdisciplinary network of faculty members and support services, our activities will support the implementation of the Indigenous Strategic Plan through a number of teaching and research initiatives meant to enhance understanding, foster opportunity and nurture knowledge exchange in Applied Indigenous scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and the greater community. By sowing the seeds of reconciliation broadly across Western’s campus, our overall goal is to enliven the structural, substantive and sustainability requirements to make Western a destination for Indigenous scholarship.