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Upcoming OISE summit will explore best practices in mentoring and supporting Indigenous students

January 24, 2018

WATCH: The Summit for Mentoring Indigenous Graduate Students will bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous university staff, faculty and students to discuss best practices for teaching, supervising, and supporting Indigenous students. In the video playlist above, organizers of the event discuss its significance.

On February 5, 2018, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto will host the Summit for Mentoring Indigenous Graduate Students.

Organized by the Indigenous Education Network, SMIGS is a one-day professional development opportunity open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous university staff, students and faculty. The first of its kind in Canada, the event is an important opportunity to discuss best practices for teaching, supervising, and supporting Indigenous students in our universities.

We sat down with organizers Lindsay DuPré, Erica Violet Lee and Prof. Eve Tuck to learn more. Click the video above to watch the interview playlist. 

Why should faculty, staff and students attend the summit?

Indigenous students have 
incredible knowledges, skills and passions to contribute to our universities, but continue to face significant institutional barriers. Rather than focusing solely on increasing the number of Indigenous students, classrooms and universities must first become spaces truly deserving of Indigenous students.

Supporting Indigenous students needs to happen across many different levels requiring commitment from a range of players including faculty, staff, librarians—all people working in universities can increase their expertise.

There is a long way to go in repairing the relationship between education and Indigenous peoples, and doing this work requires everyone to take responsibility for the harm done in the past and the ways in which colonialism continues today. Our educational institutions are a part of the ongoing problem, but also hold great potential in advancing solutions and so we need to mobilize the expertise of staff, students and faculty who are already supporting Indigenous students in meaningful and empowering ways.

Why is it so critical that we improve our practices of supporting Indigenous graduate students today?

With the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the release of its 94 Calls to Action, many universities have shown increased interest in Indigenizing the academy. Unfortunately, however, the labour of operationalizing reconciliation has often been placed on Indigenous students where they are relied on to make spaces safer for themselves. Students are frequently expected to sit on advisory groups, lead classroom discussions, share personal experiences and stories, and sometimes even to develop syllabi and lesson plans for faculty. It is not students’ responsibility to do this work and they must not be viewed as the problem.

Now is the time to work together in supporting Indigenous students to not just survive, but thrive in our universities.

About the event

The Summit for Mentoring Indigenous Graduate Students will be held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education on February 5, 
2018, from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

The day will include keynotes by Indigenous scholars Dr. Zoe S. Todd (Carleton University), Dr. Stephanie Waterman (OISE, University of Toronto), and Dr. Robert Innes (University of Saskatchewan). 

Following the keynotes, panels featuring uniquely critical voices, both emerging and established in the sphere of Indigenous academia, will add their own thoughts on mentoring Indigenous graduate students.

Panelists include: Vanessa Watts-Powless, Chelsea Gabel, Michelle Murphy, Minelle Mahtani, Shannon Simpson, Sandra Styres, Hayden King, Karyn Recollet, Eve Tuck, Sandi Wemigwase, Erica Violet Lee, Megan Scribe, Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing, Marie Laing, Fernanda Yanchapaxi, Kayla Webber, Andrea Derbecker, Jennifer Sylvester, and Ryan Neepin. 

Cost of registration (includes lunch) 

  • Faculty, staff, and administrators: $119
  • Students: $10

To register, visit