“When economists come for Indigenous Education”

Just before the Easter weekend, students were preparing for final exams and assignments at Laurentian University, when an email was sent out by the University to all staff and students, announcing that they will be terminating three relationships with federated institutions including Huntington University, Thorneloe University, and the University of Sudbury.

As alumni Jackson Pind put it in a letter to the editor: “in one e-mail sent at 10:01 pm, the university had undone decades of education for the humanities including fields of communications, Indigenous studies, gerontology, and gender and sexuality.”

These affiliated schools provided important programs that contributed to Laurentian’s need for diverse education.

Pind calls out Dr. Alan Harrison, special advisor for Laurentian University. Stating in his letter, “Dr. Harrison is now responsible for allowing the provincial government to not fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Call to Action 16: ‘We call upon post-secondary institutions to create university and college degree and diploma programs in Aboriginal languages.’ This legacy will not be forgotten by members of the Indigenous community as their Indigenous language degrees are no longer available in the largest university in Northern Ontario. Other universities must act to protect Indigenous knowledge if they are truly interested in reconciliation.”

In a post to twitter, user AvenSarah posted the letter sent out by the University on the eve of Easter and commented,  “good to know we’ve been nothing but a liability and drain on the university’s resources all these years, and that they have the capacity to handle all our students without us, can find ‘alternative’ programs that are just as good, and nice to see that faculty aren’t mentioned at all.”

It looks like no one will be getting answers, or a heads up until Monday, when termination letters will be sent out to the affected staff.

Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Ross Romano needs to answer to the calls to action from the faculty and students of Laurentian who are currently left without any answers in regard to the institution’s future.

Laurentian University sits on Atikameksheng First Nation territory, and they were not consulted on the University’s decision. SaultOnline has reached out to Atikameksheng and are awaiting a statement from the band.


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