Faculty, staff and students of McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences are joining Canadians across the country today to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples during National Indigenous Peoples Day.

During the past year, the strategic plan for the Faculty’s Indigenous Health Initiative (IHI), which aims to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, has been advanced.

This has included the opening of the Indigenous Health Learning Lodge in the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery as a hub for training and curriculum development, a safe place with access to Traditional Knowledge Keepers, a student lounge to study and socialize, and an inclusive place for non-Indigenous students to learn more about colonization and reconciliation.

“Not only does this important initiative support the Faculty’s systemic change process and the system reform that is needed to close the gaps in health outcomes, but it is also intended to address the barriers that continue to exist for Indigenous learners and faculty in the Faculty,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The lodge advocates and increases awareness regarding human rights, anti-racism, and cultural safety concerning Indigenous health and wellbeing and highlights important days such as today’s National Indigenous Day, and Orange Shirt Day on September 30, which is in memory of the thousands of Indigenous children who died in residential schools.

“Today, I encourage everyone to pause, reflect, celebrate and honour the unique heritage, cultures, and achievements of members of the Indigenous community, as we reaffirm our commitment toward reconciliation and our responsibility to address systemic issues and barriers for Indigenous learners,” O’Byrne said.

Last week, during the university’s convocation celebrations, Indigenous Student Services hosted its first in-person Indigenous graduation celebration, including Faculty graduates. To view a video and photos of the event visit https://bit.ly/3tPV8lE

Read the Daily News story here: https://bit.ly/3OlAa6e


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