As part of its commitment to Indigenization and decolonization across the university, Western will launch the Memegwaanh Indigenous Learning Honour (ILH) tomorrow, on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The ILH will recognize students’ engagement in efforts towards Truth and Reconciliation during their time at Western through academic coursework and extracurricular activities, such as community-engaged learning opportunities. Once completed, the honour will appear on the student’s official transcript upon graduation.
“The Memegwaanh Indigenous Learning Honour is an innovative program that provides formal recognition to students for engaging with Reconciliation, Indigenous Peoples and learning opportunities during their time at Western,“ said Christy Bressette, vice-provost and associate vice-president (Indigenous Initiatives). “By adding an informal learning requirement—which involves attending Indigenous community events and workshops—we’ve broadened the way students can learn, which is an important step towards broadening their horizons and Indigenizing our understanding of what constitutes higher education.”
Through the ILH, students will:
- recognize and build respect for diverse Indigenous cultures, histories, contemporary perspectives and experiences;
- engage meaningfully in Indigenous initiatives on campus and in the community; and
- develop local, place and land-based understandings of Indigenous knowledge and Truth and Reconciliation movements.
The ILH was created in response to a recommendation from Western’s Maamwi Gzikewag: Indigenous Curriculum and Learning Report and is based on an Indigenous curriculum and learning project led by Camille Di Iulio, EdD’22 (Education) as part of her Head & Heart Research Fellowship. The name and the symbol are both inspired by Di Iulio’s work. Indigenous artist and Western graduate Danielle Robinson, BA’16, MPH’17, was commissioned to create the Memegwaanh Indigenous Learning Honour symbol.
“Memegwaanh is the Anishinaabemowin word for butterfly and represents the transformative potential that Indigenous ways of knowing offer students in terms of their deep epistemological and paradigmatic shifts,” said Di Iulio. “The colour of the butterfly in the symbol represents the ILH’s relation to Western and includes woodland-style florals to depict its distinctly Indigenous nature. The medicine wheel represents the holistic learning and healing that is possible as students complete the ILH.”
Students interested in enrolling in the ILH are encouraged to visit: https://indigenous.uwo.ca/initiatives/indigenous_learning_honour_/index.html