We, the faculty and staff of the UFV Teacher Education department (TED), are fortunate to do our work in Teacher Education on the land of the Stó:lō people (the River People) who have lived in this area since time immemorial. In particular, we acknowledge the Sema:th, Math’xwi, and Kwantlen First Nations whose people are the original stewards of the land on which the Abbotsford campus of UFV is situated.
The TED has made a strong commitment to decolonizing practices, and Indigenizing curriculum and pedagogy. We warmly welcome Indigenous students into the Bachelor of Education, and actively seek to incorporate Indigenous Ways of Knowing and pedagogies into our curriculum. In 2012, a formal celebration was held to gift the UFV Teacher Education Program with the Halq'eméylem name, S'í:wes Xwela ye Xá:ws I:westeleq, meaning "Education for the New Teachers”. We feel honoured to have been gifted with this name by the Stó:lō people, and recognize that with this name comes a responsibility.
Terrible things have been done in the name of education in Canada – not the least of which were the attempts by the Canadian government to assimilate thousands of Indigenous children into White Settler society through Indian Residential Schools. The primary goal of these schools was to “kill the Indian in the child”. Senator Murray Sinclair (the Chief Commissioner for the Truth and Reconciliation Report), when speaking about the harm perpetrated in the name of education in these schools, stated, “Education is what got us into this mess; and education is what will get us out.”
Armed with the new understandings we have come to because of the stories of truth shared by IRS Survivors through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the Teacher Education program at UFV seeks to mitigate some of this damage and work to create a society where Indigenous children and adolescents are valued for who they are.