THUNDER BAY, ON, March 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Students will be continuing a
sit-in this week to defend the quality of Indigenous content in
Lakehead's new Faculty of Law. Students are calling on the university
to reinstate a course from the Indigenous Learning Program that was
included in the institution's original proposal for a law program.
"The law program at Lakehead was accredited specifically because of its
unique Indigenous-focused content," said Emma Brightwell, President of
the Lakehead University Students' Union. "The university must live up
to its commitments to include this valuable and important Indigenous
At a meeting on February 15, the Lakehead University Senate replaced a
full-credit Indigenous Learning course with a half-credit course to be
taught by members of the Faculty of Law. The new course will look at
the place of Indigenous peoples within Canadian law, instead of
exploring the place of the law within Indigenous world views.
"A credible Indigenous-focused law curriculum has to be one that centres
the perspectives of Indigenous world views, as the original Indigenous
Learning course does," said Sebastien Murdoch-Gibson, one of the
participants in the sit in. "We have every intention to stay here to
defend the integrity of Indigenous content in the law program."
Students raised concerns about the change and have been participating in
a sit-in in front of the office of President Brian Stevenson since
February 25. During the course of the sit-in, students have held
support rallies, traditional ceremonies and another support rally is
scheduled for March 7.
"With a growing Indigenous population in Northern Ontario and across the
province, there is a critical need for more Indigenous-focused
programming in our universities and colleges," said Sarah Jayne King,
Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.
"Institutions have a responsibility to ensure that these programs truly
centre Indigenous perspectives."
To find out more about the student sit-in, visit their Facebook group
"Students for Native Canadian World Views." To read more about
Indigenous education in Ontario, see the Canadian Federation of
Students-Ontario fact sheet.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students
For further information:
Emma Brightwell, President, Lakehead University Students' Union: (807) 343-8550 or (519) 362-7479
Sarah Jayne King, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario: (416) 925-3825 or (647) 339-4070