Nominations open to honour Indigenous campus community

U of M’s Indigenous Excellence Awards renamed

Nominations for U of M’s Honouring Our Indigenous Campus Community recognition are now open.

The office of the vice-president (Indigenous) will recognize individuals from the university’s Indigenous community who make a difference through their positive involvement at the U of M campuses. Previously named the Indigenous Awards of Excellence, the honouring ceremony will take place this June.

Six students, two faculty members and two staff will be recognized at the ceremony.

Indigenous student nominees must be currently enrolled at the U of M in at least 18 credit hours over the fall and winter terms as an undergraduate, or studying at the graduate level.

Students who are chosen will receive $250 each from Financial Aid and Awards.

One of the two faculty members to be recognized must have served at least one year at the U of M and the second must have been with the university for at least 10 years.

Examples of faculty staff include professors, full-time lecturers and librarians, among other positions. Indigenous staff members who are not classified as faculty can also be nominated.

Director of Indigenous engagement and communications Ruth Shead said that the name was changed in response to feedback from previous years’ winners, who felt it was more accurate to say they were being honoured for their work rather than winning an award.

“We just had some long conversations about what is really the purpose here, and the purpose is to honour people,” Shead said.

In previous years, award winners were given the high honour of being wrapped in a star blanket to commemorate their positive impact within the Indigenous campus community.

A committee composed of Indigenous employees from the U of M’s Bannatyne campus, Fort Garry campus and the Inner City Social Work program at the William Norrie Centre meets to review criteria for the special recognition, review feedback from previous years and determine changes going forward.

This year, the committee has decided to remove specific categories of recognition. They heard from previous nominees that having specific categories felt restrictive for nominees who could fit into multiple categories.

Shead also pointed out that many nominees have gifts that were not included in the previous categories, such as Elders and Knowledge Keepers, and emphasized the importance of recognizing the wide variety of gifts and talents within the Indigenous community at the U of M.

“There’s such a diversity of gifts that people are bringing to the university and [I’m] hoping that we’ll be able to just acknowledge people who are doing awesome things, making change, people who are changing this place for future generations,” she said.

“We want to honour people who are making a difference.”

The Honouring Our Indigenous Campus Community ceremony will be held on June 20, 2023 in Marshall McLuhan Hall. All those on campus are welcome to attend.

The deadline to submit nominations is Feb. 28, 2023 at 4:30 p.m.