THUNDER BAY – Lakehead University has taken a broad step towards reconciliation with indigenous people as Lakehead University President Brian Stevenson appointed Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux as the Chair for Truth and Reconciliation for the university on Friday, September 23.
The ceremony held at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law Building had many dignitaries in attendance; including Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett, as well as representatives from provincial and municipal levels of government from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the Fort William First Nation.
Former vice-provost for aboriginal initiatives, Wesley-Esquimaux will advocate for healing throughout the university and beyond as the duties of her new position became effective immediately. As 11 per cent of the university’s population is indigenous, Wesley-Esquimaux will also serve in the Simcoe County and northwest, and at the provincial and national levels as an ambassador for truth and reconciliation.
In 2015, Wesley-Esquimaux was inducted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an honorary witness, and this step was designed to ensure that the university is utilizes and responds to the recommendations offered by the Report on Truth and Reconciliation effectively. She will also advise the university president and other school officials on issues regarding indigenous peoples provincially and nationally.