Lakehead mandates Indigenous content in all faculties while uWinnipeg students propose mandatory Indigenous courses

February 25, 2015

Lakehead University will introduce Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into courses across all faculties starting in 2016, reports CBC. The Indigenous content will be tailored to the specific academic program. Yolanda Wanakamik with the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives noted that in addition to increasing understanding of Indigenous people, the intent of the initiative is to encourage open discussion about racism. Lakehead is reportedly the first Canadian university to make Indigenous content mandatory for all students; however, the University of Winnipeg Students' Association (UWSA) has paired up with uWinnipeg’s Aboriginal Students' Council on a proposal to make a class in Indigenous history or culture mandatory for all students. uWinnipeg’s AVP Indigenous Affairs Wab Kinew said it would be a win-win scenario for faculty and students: "it should be a way for us to both indigenize the academy, but also even strengthen the academic experience of students. So as long as we're open to faculty concerns and flexible in meeting them, then I think that we can realize that win-win.” The motion will be reviewed by uWinnipeg’s Senate in the next couple of months. Winnipeg Free Press | CBC (uWinnipeg) | CBC (Lakehead) | APTN News

Postscript: April 8, 2015

The senate of the University of Winnipeg has approved in principle a motion that would make it mandatory for all undergraduate students to take a course in Indigenous history or culture. "Today is a good day for the University of Winnipeg—as well as for the broader community: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada," said uWinnipeg AVP Indigenous Affairs Wab Kinew. uWinnipeg President Annette Trimbee added, "we have taken an important step on the path to a better, more understanding, and inclusive society." The requirement could be put into effect as early as September, 2016. Winnipeg Free Press