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Land Acknowledgement

We at CURL would like to acknowledge that the land on which we teach, learn, and present our research is the traditional territory of  the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Chonnonton Nations.

We also acknowledge that historical relationships between Huron University College and Indigenous communities are rooted in an institutional history with close connections to the residential school system and the settler colonial state in Canada.

The Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning brings together individual researchers of many different backgrounds, each with different relationships to this land and this history. Within these differences, we acknowledge that because of our positions as researchers in an academic setting, we are all part of colonial relationships both locally and globally.

For this reason, we have a responsibility to learn about the past and present of colonial relationships, even when these lessons are difficult. We also have a responsibility to conduct and disseminate research from a position of partnership, recognizing principles of Indigenous ownership and control. Finally, we have a responsibility to support Indigenous efforts to foster justice, prosperity, and joy.

Local Indigenous Causes and Issues

CURL will update this page with 2-3 local Indigenous issues or causes during the two major events we hold during the year, the Fall Exhibition and Spring Conference. We welcome submissions and suggestions. 

As we prepare for this year’s Spring Conference, we encourage you to direct your thoughts and actions to the struggles and triumphs of Indigenous communties here in Canada. Please consider donating to these causes and sharing them with your friends, family, and social media followers.

Spring Conference 2022

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Western Opens Wampum Learning Lodge

This year, we’d like to direct students’ attention to the opening of the Wampum Learning Lodge: an Indigenous-led intercultural teaching, learning, and gathering space at Western University. “Wampum” is a Narragansett (Algonquian Language Family) term meaning “string of white shell beads”. These beads were crafted by members of various Indigenous nations, including the Haudenosaunee, into belts used to record history, treaties, and stories.

Designed by Wanda Dalla Costa of Saddle Lake First Nation, the Wampum Learning Lodge will provide space for Indigenous communities and projects and promote Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous pedagogies across disciplines. All Western community members who share a common interest in advancing Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation will find something meaningful at the Wampum Learning Lodge! Visit the website here.

We at CURL strongly encourage Huron students to engage with the Lodge’s programming and to foster a sense of inclusivity and community as their move their work and their world towards decolonization.

Indigenous Watchdog: Canada is Nowhere Near Complete the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released a final report detailing 94 calls to action, rightfully demanding that governments across Canada take on reconciliation initiatives. The progress has been unacceptably slow, with less than 15% complete today—a full 7 years later.

Founded by Douglas Sinclair of the Peguis First Nation of Manitoba, Indigenous Watchdog is a federally-recognized non-profit that gathers and publicly presents information about these 94 calls to action. Readers of its website can find not only a tally of which actions have been started, stalled, and completed, but also information about numerous issues affecting Indigenous people in Canada—from drinking water advisories to food insecurity, homelessness, and individual events, such as Alberta directing all provincial funding for family intervention services in the Grande Prairie area to a single non-Indigenous organization. The website also compiles introductory historical and cultural information about the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples. It is a truly valuable read for all who are interested in beginning their learning journey about the need for reconciliation in Canada.

In 2021, Indigenous Watchdog received funds from the Community Foundations of Canada IRP Program to advance to Phase 2 of its long-term plan: developing a dynamic, searchable website where any user can access information on critical issues impacting Indigenous lives.

Students can support this non-profit with donations on the Indigenous Watchdog website.

Spring Conference 2022

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Nechi Institute Moving due to Unmarked Graves

The Nechi Institute, an accredited Indigenous learning centre that has trained its students in Indigenous-centred treatment of addiction for over 50 years, needs to find a new location.  According to CEO Marlyn Buffalo, the training centre—comprised of trailers near the Edmonton Indian Residentail School—is standing on a number of unmarked graves. “Hereditary Chief George Muldoe … showed me, showed my staff exactly where he buried people. And that is immediately behind our backyard at the Nechi institute,” Buffalo told APTN News. “I’ve had elders tell me personally … that our trailers are sitting on unmarked graves.”

Nechi used to share the site of the Edmonton Indian Residential School with Poundmaker’s Lodge, an Indigenous-focused treatment centre for addictions. But after a difficult eviction from the province of Alberta to make room for more beds at the Poundmaker’s Lodge, the province did not provide them an alternative, and Nechi couldn’t find a suitable new location. The trailers were meant to be a temporary option.

The fact Nechi was evicted “without prior and informed consent,” Buffalo told the Edmonton Journal, countered “everything that’s in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. The building was set aside for us… in 1984. They can’t be going against that. They had a legal, moral, and spiritual obligation to consult Nechi, and they never, ever discussed anything of that sort with me or anyone else on my board.” without prior and informed consent, means it’s countering everything that’s in the Truth and Reconciliation (Commission’s) calls to action,” said Marilyn Buffalo, the Nechi Institute’s CEO.

“That building was set aside for us … in 1984. They can’t be going against that. They had a legal, moral and spiritual obligation to consult Nechi, and they have never, ever discussed anything of that sort with me or anyone else on my board.”

Nechi has requested assistance from the Prime Minister and the Assembly of First Nations for help securing a new location.

You can support Nechi in their search for a new location by donating to the centre here.

About Nechi

The Nechi Institute is an Indigenous learning centre located in west Treaty 6 territory (St. Albert, Alberta). According to its website, Nechi is recognized as one of the finest Indigenous training, research, and health promotions centres in the world. Nechi’s training and services focus on community issues such as  drugs, alcohol and gambling addictions, family violence, and prescription drug abuse.

Indigenous Non-Profit Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg Takes Over Community Garden

On Thursday, March 24, councillors on the Emergency and Community Services committee in Hamilton, ON voted to transfer leadership of the McQuesten Urban Farm from the city to Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg, a local non-profit operating a food bank, children’s programs, Indigenous cultural revitalization programming, and an Indigenous call centre.

Originally launched in 2016 by students from the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Guelph, the farm was aimed at addressing food insecurity in the McQuesten area, which, despite its proximity to large cities, was lacking grocery stores that sold fresh produce. During the garden’s inception Landscape Architecture professor Karen Landman called the area a “food desert.”

Hamilton city councillor Sam Merulla told CBC news how excited he was for the agreement: “I really thought … that [the farm’s] day would come and there wouldn’t be any money available.” Niwasa’s leadership offers “the missing link” for the garden: stability.

Niwasa Executive Director Monique Lavallee was delighted to incorporate the farm into Niwasa’s endeavours: “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to look at our traditional ways of knowing and being, and our connection to the land.”

About Niwasa

Niwasa Kendaaswin Teg, located in Hamilton, ON within the area of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, provides supports in safe places for Indigenous people across the life cycle. Their services are rooted in culture and language, and they include a wide range of options such as an Indigenous well-being program; land-based learning (traditional medicines and planting); an Ojibwe language learning app called Kidwenan; a food bank; a private, culturally relevant call centre for Indigenous people needing guidance; child care and nutrition programs; and many more.


Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant

Fall Exhibition 2021

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Woodland Cultural Centre Seeks to Preserve and Promote Indigenous Art and Culture

We also think about the painful realities of residential school survivors—and about how Canadian society has, in many ways, obscured and discarded these realities. We look to Indigenous-led organizations like the Woodland Cultural Centre in Hamilton, Ontario in order to actively learn about Indigenous histories, knowledge, and lived experiences.

However, supporting Indigenous causes requires more than thinking and learning. Please consider providing concrete support in the form of volunteering, donating, or sharing on social media.


Woodland Cultural Centre in Hamilton, ON serves to preserve and promote Indigenous history, art, language and culture through a range of workshops and exhibitions. Their Save the Evidence campaign is gathering funds to support the conversion of the Mohawk Institute Residential School to an Interpreted Historical Site and educational resource. Support them here: https://woodlandculturalcentre.ca/the-campaign/

Atlohsa Healing Services Finds Homeless Shelter Torched

As we prepare for the 2021 Fall Exhibition, we think about the destruction of a local Indigenous homeless shelter. Indigenous non-profit Atlohsa Family Healing Services developed a project intended to convert a city-owned golf club to  safe housing for 30 vulnerable Indigenous community members. Before construction could be completed, this shelter was intentionally burned down. As Atlohsa director Robert Deleary explained: “the displacement that has occurred over the past five hundred years in this country obviously continues to occur […] Not only by the state, but now by individuals acting on their own accord to say ‘We don’t want you here, and this is what we’re going to do to show you that we don’t want you here.’”

About Atlohsa

Atlohsa Family Healing Services here in London has been serving Indigenous individuals and families across Southwestern Ontario since 1986 providing low-barrier wraparound services to community members with complex needs, including mental wellness, substance use, homelessness, domestic violence, and trauma. They are currently seeking a new location to provide winter housing for Indigenous people. Support them here: https://atlohsa.com/about/