Queen’s University opens office of Indigenous Health, outdoor gathering space

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Queen’s University opens office of Indigenous Health and outdoor gathering space
WATCH: The Indigenous Health office and the Indigenous Outdoor Gathering Space are steps by the university to advance the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action. – Sep 18, 2023

It was an auspicious moment at Queen’s University Monday morning for the official opening of the Indigenous outdoor gathering space.

The space will be used for Indigenous teaching and learning to complement other programming held in existing indoor classrooms, says senior director of student equity Kandice Baptiste

“There are classes that are booked in to be taught here, and so I think now that it’s truly opened and folks can have time to come and look at it and maybe do some planning, I hope that next semester it will be fully booked but this is both an event space and a classroom space.”

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And it was only a couple hours after officially opening that the Indigenous outdoor gathering space was used for its first event. Dr. Sarah Funnell is now the associate dean of the new office of Indigenous Health at Queen’s University. Funnell says the office is geared toward advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

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“So what does that look like?” Funnell said. “It looks like all professors and staff having the appropriate training in anti-racism, in anti-oppression but also just the way the school looks and feels. Like for example this building, it’s beautiful.”

Dr. Jane Philpott, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences says the creation of the associate dean’s position and the Office of Indigenous Health has been a goal of hers since her arrival at Queen’s.

“It is certainly our hope that as we bring in more Indigenous faculty like Dr. Funnell that will help us attract more indigenous youth into our programs,” Philpott said.

And with National Truth and Reconciliation Day approaching on Sept. 30, these two initiatives serve as steps forward and reminders of the work still to be done.

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