Indigenous Initiatives Strategy

Bi-Naagwad | It Comes Into View

Izhichige Min | Our Commitments

The University of Guelph is committed to working towards decolonization and reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, communities and lands.

  • We seek to inspire future generations of scholars and citizens to reconcile with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and lands
  • We believe in the need for equitable access to education, employment and support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis scholars, students and their communities
  • We are committed to fostering meaningful partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Knowledge Holders, communities and organizations
  • We are committed to enhancing recognition and respect for Indigenous cultures, languages, and ways of knowing, being and doing
  • We are committed to innovative Indigenous research and expanding how we understand and interpret the world

Izhitaw | Our Process

The Indigenous Initiatives Strategic Task Force was established as a working body serving as a subset of the President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Initiatives. The mandate of the Task Force was to develop an Indigenous Initiatives Strategy aimed at guiding the advancement of reconciliation and decolonization efforts at the University of Guelph.  

Five working groups were formed to review and discuss policies and practices across the themes of governance, campus environment, Indigenous student support, research and scholarship and pedagogy and curriculum.  To open the Indigenous Initiatives Strategy Task Force in a good way, Task Force, Advisory Circle and the President's Advisory Committee on Indigenous Initiatives members came together in ceremony on May 31, 2019 at the OAC Centennial Arboretum Centre. The closing ceremony for the Task Force was held virtually on May 6, 2021. 

To learn more about this process and the Task Force visit

Ngikendamin | What We Learned

Bi-Naagwad, the Indigenous Initiatives Strategy Summary Report outlines the priorities determined by the Working Groups.  The Summary and Working Group Reports were endorsed by the President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Initiatives on January 12, 2021 and released on March 4, 2021.


Working Group Reports

Each of Working Groups produced a final report with a suite of recommendations that are available for review at the following links.

Miigwechiwe Nim | Our Gratitude

We would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude to those who provided guidance to and participated in the Indigenous Initiatives Strategy. Their dedication and commitment are what allows us to move forward on this path of indigenization and reconciliation.

  • Advisory Circle
  • Steering Committee and Working Group members
  • Graduate Research Assistants 
  • Students, faculty, staff and community members who shared their knowledge and perspectives
  • Rene Meshake, Anishinaabe Elder, storyteller and artist for his translation and support in building our word bundles
  • Kaitlin Gallant, Indigenous designer, illustrator and beader for her creative work and beautiful illustrations

Relationship between Indigenization and Equity Diversity and Inclusion

As we work to foster a culture of inclusion at the University of Guelph, the relationship between indigenization and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) can be viewed through the principles of the Dish with One Spoon and Two Row Wampums. In the spirit of the Dish with One Spoon, we understand the importance of living up to our responsibilities and striving for equity for all members of our community. We are further guided by the Two Row Wampum, from which we can envision indigenization and EDI efforts sharing the river as they embark on their journeys and how their paths are complementary, yet distinct as they move towards a brighter future for all.   

Dish With One Spoon 

An agreement between Hodinohso:ni, Anishinaabe and their allied nations to live peaceably on the lands throughout what is now known as the Great Lakes Region. The circle at the centre is a dish with a beaver's tail, indicating that they will have one dish and what belongs to one will be shared among all. We are to eat of the beavertail, using no sharp utensils, to prevent the shedding of blood. We all share resources and everything the Creator has provided for us upon our arrival to Mother Earth.

Two Row Wampum 

An agreement of friendship between the Hodinohso:ni and the settlers which symbolizes their relationship. One purple row of beads represents the path of the Indigenous canoe which contains their customs and laws. The other represents the settler's ship which contains their customs and laws. The meaning of the parallel paths is that neither boat should outpace each other, and the paths should remain separate as long as the grass grows, the rivers flow, the sun shines and will be everlasting. 

Wampum belt descriptions adapted from resources from the Jake Thomas Learning Centre.