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Indigenizing the WCVM speaker Ernie Walker leads a tour at Wanuskewin, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. Photo by Gwen Roy

Speakers to examine Indigenous issues

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report in 2015, Canadians were presented with a series of calls to action for creating healing and harmonious relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens of Canada.

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report in 2015, Canadians were presented with a series of calls to action for creating healing and harmonious relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens of Canada.

In his final report, TRC Chair Chief Justice Murray Sinclair stated that "education is the key to reconciliation."

This push toward education as the key to healing and understanding was the genesis for a speaker series that aims to provide education for Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) students, faculty and staff.

Sinclair suggested that universities would be the nexus for change, and this is a call that WCVM veterinary professor Dr. Andy Allen has taken seriously.

"The goal is that Canadians of all backgrounds become more familiar with the issues that face our indigenous people," says Allen, who is also chair of the Dean's Advisory Committee on Indigenous Engagement at the veterinary college.

Last fall, Dr. Allen arranged a speaker series titled "Indigenizing the WCVM" that's open to the college's staff and students as well as the broader university community. So far, speakers have included Ernie Walker, Jim Miller, Bill Waiser and Jeff Baker who have provided anthropological and historical background on the relationship between First Nations and Métis peoples and settlers in Saskatchewan and Canada.

The remaining presentations focus on future and current Indigenous issues, and Allen says he already has ideas for next year.

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