Today marks International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. On its website, the United Nations notes that this year’s theme is a call for a new social contract with Indigenous Peoples, something that resonates strongly in Canada right now. Awareness of a need for fairer social practices with Indigenous Peoples is growing as we attempt to build forward in more equitable ways, and reclamation is a powerful concept driving visions of more equitable practices. In the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) and throughout McMaster this can mean sharing spaces more consciously with fair representation and engagement in education, research and across all healthcare dimensions.

As educators, researchers and lifelong learners, members of HEI are consciously transforming their practices, seeking respectful collaborations, supporting Indigenous leadership, and encouraging responsive research with and in service to Indigenous populations. This has included learning from the strengths of Indigenous practices and co-creation of research and learning programs that can help to improve the lives of all.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is a welcomed opportunity to take pause and listen, learn and engage with Indigenous strengths all over the world. But there is no denying that we need more than just one day to honour Indigenous Peoples’ experiences and the realities and truth of those experiences. Listening, learning, responding and collaborating with Indigenous people should be a habit for responsible and engaged health researchers. Doing so will open new avenues to a better understanding of how we can help create and support fairer social contracts that respect Indigenous knowledge and traditions, including improved healthcare and policy for Indigenous communities across Canada.

Resources and opportunities for you to consider and explore

For more information, and to continue your own learning and listening, please take some time to engage with the resources listed below:

Lisa Schwartz
Associate Chair, Faculty Affairs and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act (AODA)


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