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Indigenous campus community build connections at a UM event.

Building connections within the Indigenous campus community

Indigenous Connect meetings offer opportunity to share, learn and collaborate

September 13, 2023 — 

As the new academic year ramps up, so too do opportunities to learn and get involved beyond classrooms and research labs.

Enter the Indigenous Connect community.

“We meet monthly to discuss what’s happening in all corners of the university—that way, we can better share information, discover opportunities to collaborate and bring people together,” says Ruth Shead, director, Indigenous Engagement and Communications in the Office of the Vice-President (Indigenous).

A welcoming space for Indigenous faculty, staff, students, allies and friends across all UM campuses, the 90-minute meetings offer a chance for attendees to network, share their work, obtain feedback, and discuss programming, events, policy issues and other matters of importance, like the creation of the recent Indigenous identity policy.

“It’s become a very important space, one where we can not only share information but also get to know each other and build connections across a large institution,” says Shead. “It’s also an opportunity for Indigenous staff and faculty to find support with their colleagues, as well as for people who are interested in learning and becoming solid allies.”

Each monthly meeting consists of introductions, a presentation and a roundtable, where attendees are encouraged to share upcoming Indigenous initiatives or activities taking place in their units and faculties.

“We always start the meetings with introductions, which we enjoy because attendees get to know each other as humans, as teammates or as someone to potentially reach out to following the meeting,” says Shead. “UM is committed to advancing Indigenous engagement, embarking on a reconciliation journey and answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and there are many people doing related work across the university. We want to hear what others are doing so we can learn from each other and celebrate everyone’s successes.”

All meetings take place via Zoom except for two in-person feasts, typically held in May and December. “Even as the pandemic restrictions started to lift, we kept the majority of meetings online so more people could attend—but in-person connections are so important, too,” says Shead.

Anyone in the UM community is welcome to attend the Indigenous Connect meetings. If you would like to attend or present at a meeting, email to be added to the calendar invite.

To stay updated on Indigenous campus community happenings, visit the Indigenous UM webpage.

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