UArctic Rectors' Forum 2019 Student Declaration

Present: Starnita Nyce (Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute), Karen McKay (Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute), Zhiping Jin (Hokkaido University), Yuta Okura (Hokkaido University), Mary Rice (Saint Mary’s University), Shirin Nuesslein (Trent University), Brittany Curry-Sharples (Trent University), and Alexandra Kuhne (Trent University).

Presented by: Starnita Nyce

To open,

Way simgigat, sigidimhaanaḵ', k’ubawilksihlkw, g̱anhl tx̱aa nitkws k'ubatk'ihlkw. Amaa hiihlukw as nisim̓. Sag̱a liksta'am bil̓isthl way̓. Starnitahl ksg̱oog̱am way̓. T'ooyaḵsiy̓ Sim'oogit Lax̱ha as amaa sa tgun. Luu'aamhl g̱oodiy̓ wil witgwiy̓ awa'asim̓.

Chiefs, matriarchs, princes and princesses, and all of the children. Good morning to you all. My Nisga’a name is “saga liksta’am bilist”. My first name is Starnita. I thank the creator for this good day. I am happy to be here with you all.

Firstly, we would like to state that we represent a minority of eight students from the north and South of Canada, Japan and China coming from diverse communities and educational levels. We acknowledge that there are perspectives missing from this declaration and may be inherently biased due to our perspectives.

Secondly, we would like to recommend that in future, UArctic prepare the student delegation to make better and more informed decisions and or suggestions to and about UArctic directives concerning education and research policies.

We hereby resolve to:

  1. Request that UArctic institutes better advertise student roles and engagement.
  2. Affirm that the UArctic be transparent with the expectations of student delegates and provide all supplementary information ahead of time.

Reflecting on Question 1 to improve programs and their compatibility with local communities;

We recommend that the designs and implementations of educational programs are shaped by and inclusive of local Elder knowledge of the land, language and culture.

Reflecting on Question 2 to building stronger collaborations;

We affirm the importance of creating the conditions that build trust to collaborate and take into account the sacredness of knowledge and that follow traditional laws and protocols of each culture. There must be consent at all stages of obtaining informed research including dissemination of any results.

Reflecting on Question 3 concerning best practices and benefits of integrating Indigenous knowledge;

We recognize that there are different ways of knowing and as such we must acknowledge when it is appropriate, inappropriate, beneficial or harmful to integrate these ways of knowing.

In closing,

Hasag̱ay̓ dim ni dinakwshl t'ooyaḵs loosim̓ algax̱ay̓. Amaa sa as nisim̓. G̱abiihl hiy̓.

I want to extend my thanks to all of you for letting me speak. Have a good day. That’s all I have to say.

Student Forum Additional Directives for UArctic:

“Unlearn to relearn”

  • Bear in mind the importance of traditional knowledge of all Indigenous peoples of the Arctic during early education.
  • Emphasize that education is for all and should not be barred or stigmatized. Removal of said stigma is of upmost concern before traditional insights are lost.
  • Encourage a better balance between traditional and modernized education in a way that Indigenous peoples of the Arctic are empowered and have a supportive network.
  • Urge access to safe commute to educational centres such that these educational centres could adopt a Southern Model of Education to support traditional ceremonies and climate-based concerns.