Workshop Breakout II Group 1 (Indigenizers) Hiring, Retention, Tenure, and Promotion

Hiring, Retention, Tenure, & Promotion

Workshop Breakout II

Breakout Group 1 (Indigenizers)

University staff overlook Aboriginal staff and go to non-aboriginal staff as experts

  •  University staff tend to not go to the staff (perception of or lack level of education) and tend to go too non-Aboriginal staff thinking they are the experts

Hiring process and practices, policies

  • Hiring process and practices – Some have Aboriginal hiring strategy and some don’t. If one is in place it needs to be utilized, often policy is left out of the picture. Must have Aboriginal staff so students are understood and it build trust, we need to get past the hiring gate people. Various issues arise with hiring committees. Institutional racism exists i.e.:

Hiring gatekeepers

  • Must have Aboriginal staff so students are understood and it build trust, we need to get past the hiring gate people

Institutionalized racism

Too Indian

First Nations  considered too “soft”and  lacking leadership because of humbleness

  • Some view First Nations people as ‘too Indian’, don’t understand the humbleness of the culture and may think because their voice is soft they are too soft for the job.


Need visibly identifiable Aboriginals hired

  • Blocking hires by using way of bilingualism (don’t speak French) when in fact their own language is the first language with English being their second language.


Screened out for not speaking French

First Nations lack influence on hiring committees

  • When on a hiring committee influence can be limited depending where you are on the institutions ladder
  • First Nations face barriers from hiring committees –nepotism
  • There is control of Hiring Committees; keeping those who want First Nations staff off the hiring committee and there is also nepotism.
  • First Nations cannot get on hiring committee
  • Lack of official Qualifications huge barrier
  • Lack of qualifications is a big hurdle even though the potential employee may have extensive experience
  • First Nations need to be hired institution-wide
  • First Nations should be hired throughout institutions, not just First Nations studies department

Need of institution to report to and be accountable to aboriginal councils

Building trust

  • Must have Aboriginal staff so students are understood and it build trust, we need to get past the hiring gate people

Faculty question First Nations Students paper content/opinions

Indigenous academic resources needed in library

  • Aboriginal councils at institutions that the school reports and are accountable too would be an idea.
  •  Institutions need Indigenous academia resources in the library to back them up.
  •  Sometimes faculty question the content of papers/opinion.


Indigenizing needs to be done by First Nations people

Institutions moving very slowly towards indigenization

Some institutions hostile because being forced to indigenize

  • Authentic indigenizing is done by First Nations people
  • Indigenizing should be organic and sustainable
  • Indigenizing should not be forced on institutions or hostility result
  • Institutions are making baby steps on moving into Aboriginal education.
  •  Indigenizing needs to done by First Nations people to be and feel authentic. Should be organic and not just a project, most of these projects are started with grant money, and stop when the money runs out. Grants do not create sustainable services and programs for the students


  • Grants need to fund long term positions
  • First Nations only included because they are needed for proposal request
  • Position ends when funding ends

Indigenizing a difficult concept to grasp;

  • Some find the word “Indigenizing” incomprehensible when there is already elusive grasp on what Indigenization means across the Province. Perhaps terminology such as “Celebrating Aboriginal Culture” would be more suitable and easier to understand.
  • We are internalizing what Indigenization means to each of us. One term is not effective for every institution.
  • should “Celebrating Aboriginal Culture” be more
  • Suitable and easier to understand?
  • One term is not effective for every institution

Core funding needed for hiring

  • Soft funding leads to high faculty/staff turnover
  • With soft funding unreliable we tend to end up ‘starting over’ on these projects. Strategic plans need to include Aboriginal hiring and retention versus contract work. Turnover is high with faculty/staff because the funding isn’t core.

Strategic plans need to include Aboriginal hiring and retention

Senior Management and Board need to visibly champion Indigenization

  • Should be more Presidents attending this forum. Important that Board and Senior Management are agreeable and ready to facilitate campus wide transition.

First Nations languages

  • First Nation languages are still articulated as electives, this makes the courses look ‘less than’ than other languages.
  • Articulated as electives;
  • Lower status

Indigenizing a global word

  • Are we indigenizing the academy for the world or for Canada?

Mentoring from university students to high school

  • The future of universities starts in high school. University students should mentor high school students, help them prepare for what the requirements for post-secondary are.



Agreements between Aboriginal Institutes and public post-secondary get mired down in “systems” issues

  • Agreements between public post-secondary and private Aboriginal institutes needs to be more than just words on paper. Universities need to put their money where their mouth is. Read what is on the agreements and move beyond the ‘systems’ to make it work.


Implications of generational change; planning ahead

  • Paradigm shift; generational change, we must plan ahead, what are we doing today and what will we be doing in ten years?



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