June 17, 2021
OTTAWA, ON – Today, The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA), announced new and increased support measures for Indigenous students at Carleton University.
“As June is National Indigenous History Month, it serves as an opportunity to not only better understand the distinct histories, cultures and traditions of Indigenous peoples, but also as a chance for us to reflect on how we can do better. That involves stepping up how we support the academic experience of Indigenous students and empowering year-round Indigenous learning initiatives for all CUSA members,” Matt Gagné, CUSA President stated.
The new support measures involve properly reinstating the Mawandoseg Centre. For the first time in almost two years, this service centre will be staffed and fully operational, with a guaranteed minimum budget increase of $20,000. The existing location of the Mawandoseg Centre is an older closet space, and does not have the adequate size or room for programming it needs. CUSA is currently in the process of reviewing the spaces of its service centres, and commits to provide the Mawandoseg Centre with a new location that fits the needs of it to be fully operational. The Mawandoseg Centre will be run and led by Indigenous students, with support from CUSA’s full-time Services Manager, Adil Tahseen.
“While reinstating the Mawandoseg Centre is long overdue in terms of offering the support and resources for Indigenous students, the new Mawandoseg Centre can also help bridge the gap in communication between CUSA and the Indigenous student population. Bringing back this service centre will help CUSA internally understand where CUSA can do better for the Indigenous student population,” Gagné added.
Reinstating the Mawandoseg Centre serves as an opportunity to permanently implement last year’s Indigenous Celebration Campaign. The campaign will be amplified with the power and resources of a service centre and ensures that going forward the campaign will be Indigenous-led. The purpose of the campaign is to not only deliver this community a long and overdue platform, but to work with Indigenous student leaders and groups in providing awareness to the resilience of the Indigenous community and the issues they face. The campaign also aims to celebrate local Indigenous leaders and businesses.
This year, CUSA’s Indigenous Initiatives Fund will see a 20% increase in available funds. The Indigenous Initiatives Fund supports initiatives that promote and celebrate Indigenous culture, students, or ways of life OR initiatives that advance Reconciliation and justice for Indigenous peoples.
“This month many re-lived a tragedy in which some have suffered for far too long. The discovery of the 215 bodies of children in Kamloops and the hundreds more children already found and those soon to be brought home, must serve as the final wake-up call. CUSA reflects on the land in which we situate ourselves. The changes we are making today acknowledges that there is a lot more CUSA can do to better understand the pathway towards reconciliation,” Gagné concluded.