Weeks after an anonymous report alleged that six people linked to Queen’s University falsified their Indigenous heritage, the school announced it will be changing its hiring practices concerning Indigenous faculty and staff.
Following the release of the anonymous report, Queen’s quickly denied the allegations, and stood by those named. However, the university was criticized for its response through an open letter, signed by dozens of Indigenous academics.
The letter also called on all post-secondary schools across Canada “to establish ethical hiring guidelines that disrupt European settler self-Indigenization and that affirm First Nations, Inuit, and Métis legal orders and sovereignty.”
On Monday, Queen’s addressed those calls to action.
“Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many voices, inside our university and from around Canada, on the need to rethink and review the ways in which institutions like ours approach the question of Indigenous identity. We’ve also heard arguments about shortcomings in Queen’s recent practice,” said principal Patrick Deane in a statement Monday.
Deane’s statement was accompanied by a statement from incoming chancellor, Murray Sinclar, who will take up the position July 1.
Murray says that “self-identification of Indigeneity no longer works.”
“Self-declaration is an important part, but it is just the beginning. We must go beyond an honour system and include voices from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island,” Sinclair said.
He said going forward, Queen’s will be working to address the concerns raised by Indigenous people over the last several weeks by reevaluating hiring practices with Indigenous communities.
Sinclair said the issue is complex, made so especially due to the effects of colonization and the disenfranchisement of Indigenous people.
“But, it is a conversation that we must have now with an eye towards meaningful change and decolonization,” Sinclair said.