Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

ATEP Statement on the Damage Done to the Tipi at Four Directions

July 30, 2020

On July 29, the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program was informed that the tipi in the backyard of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre (4D) had been damaged by a five-foot tear that runs along the seam of the tipi.

Though I am filled with exhaustion, anger, and sadness, I will continue to carry the teachings that I receive from my plant relatives. The Three Sisters (Corn, Beans, and Squash) teach me every day the meaningful and important ways that I can support and care for others. The Strawberry teaches me how to find forgiveness and peace in my heart. The community at ATEP will continue to support our community members and speak out against racist, homophobic, transphobic, and sickening acts that target our relations at 4D and our relations within the wider Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ communities. I will also find forgiveness in my heart for the person(s) who committed this hateful and cowardly act. I will not allow you to take away the peace I hold in my heart, the positivity, care, and kindness I have in my mind, and the strength of my ancestors that I carry with me, every day.

I will not be silent; I will continue to make this statement until it is heard; these acts serve as a reminder of the ways in which the safety and wellbeing of our Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ communities are challenged and threatened within our University. I will reiterate the call on settlers within the Queen’s community to take up the work of decolonization and anti-racism. Once again, we all have a responsibility to hold others accountable for their actions and to stand up against the ongoing marginalization and oppression of our Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ community.

To be an ally means to understand and take cues from the groups that are primarily affected. It is important during this time to hold up those who are being hurt or targeted and to magnify their voices. Do what you can to protect others, if and when it is appropriate to do so. Provide a place of rest and find the balance between being a source of strength without overwhelming, over-powering, or over taking others. Additionally, it means to challenge every racist, homophobic incident, speech, or other action of which you become aware in your own community.

To the Indigenous students affected by this, please know that you are valued, you are strong, you are resilient, and you are cared for and loved by so many individuals. Be proud of who you are, be proud of where you come from, carry the strength of your ancestors with you, always. Please know that I am here to support you and that our Elder in-Residence, Deb St. Amant is also available for cultural, spiritual, and emotional guidance.

Beyond statements of solidarity, the time is now to begin implementing tangible systemic change for the safety and wellbeing of the marginalized members of the Queen’s community.

In peace, love, and strength,

Aboriginal Teacher Education Program Manager