During the development of our new SRP I benefited from conversations with many faculty on issues pertaining to Indigenous research and OCAD University’s commitment to decolonization. This was a key topic discussed by the Research Committee. In discussions with Professors Ryan Rice and Jason Baerg they advanced the idea that the new SRP affords a unique opportunity for the University to demonstrate our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.
The SRP has articulated our commitment to “Nothing about us without us,” as outlined in our Academic Plan 2017-2022. This principle stipulates that research involving Indigenous peoples must be led by Indigenous peoples. It is supported by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2 2014) which outlines our responsibilities in Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada.
Within this context the University can ensure that Indigenous faculty are supported to advance their own research agendas as we continue to build capacity for Indigenous research to grow. Suggestions for how we can enact our commitment include:
- Validating and valuing different paths to academic preparation and accumulated knowledges, not always vested in specific degrees;
- Developing capacity for Indigenous researchers to meet the dedicated funding opportunities offered by funders;
- Ensuring that Indigenous faculty and communities lead research involving Indigenous peoples and communities;
- Providing the space and support for Indigenous research at the University;
- Asking applicants to internal research funding and to our Research Ethics Board to indicate if their research will help OCAD U address the TRC Calls to Action, as one way to build capacity and awareness.
I look forward to supporting the University community as we embark on this exciting next step in our research journey.