Lakehead University launching modules addressing Truth and Reconciliation actions

December 7, 2020 – Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lakehead University is launching four of eight modules on Truth and Reconciliation to encourage open discussion among its staff, faculty, and administration, which will be available for public viewing until Friday, Dec. 18.

With the fifth anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada approaching in December, the Lakehead University President’s Council for Truth and Reconciliation is posting the modules online to encourage discussions on social inclusion, Indigenous culture, and holistic approaches to dialogue in Thunder Bay and Simcoe County.

“The Covid 19 pandemic has prompted many changes in how we interact and how we will continue to do so in the future,” said Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair on Truth and Reconciliation. “A response to either crisis or opportunity has gifted us with a flexible approach to beginning and sustaining a different kind of dialogue.”

The modules include discussions in the following areas:

  1. Worldviews and Creation Stories
  2. What’s History got to do with it?
  3. Intercultural and World Literatures
  4. Addressing Systemic Racism, Stereotypes, Biases and Beliefs
  5. Beyond Indian Residential Schools
  6. The History and Impacts of Child Welfare
  7. Ethics, Protocols and Research
  8. International Protocols, National Studies and the Truth

“This module series reflects the work of faculty and staff at both campuses over several years to develop relevant content geared to promote learning, relationships and reconciliation at Lakehead,” said Dr. Gary Pluim, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and member of the President’s Council for Truth and Reconciliation.

“The modules comprise a comprehensive set of themes relating to truth and reconciliation in Canada, presented in a conversational format for us as staff and faculty to engage in a deep dialogue,” Dr. Pluim said.

“The series begins with a focus on worldviews, and continues with themes such as history, literature and international protocols, each building upon the previous to encourage strong understanding. An important aspect of these modules is their relevance to Lakehead's geographies, situating the topics in the places of Thunder Bay and Orillia and upon the Indigenous territories on which the campuses are located,” he added.

Lakehead has long been a leader in Indigenous programming and support for Indigenous learning and employment, beginning with the Native Access Program in the early 1980s, which ensured Indigenous students of all ages had a clear path to higher learning, to hiring the first Indigenous Vice-Provost in Canada in 2003, creating the first Indigenous Chair on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada in 2016, and launching the first Indigenous Content Requirement in 2016.

More recently, Lakehead has signed a new Indigenous Principles Agreement with Northwestern Chiefs and Councils to strengthen its relationships across the North and Simcoe County.

“Ultimately, our goal is to create a Lakehead specific ‘reconciliation through education’ model,” Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux said.

“We hope eventually to be in dialogue with everyone in the Lakehead University community, from the Board of Governors, through Senate, the student body, staff, faculty, and guests through our work on reconciliation,” she added.

Through its many initiatives, Lakehead strives to have the varied and rich nuances of cultures, languages, knowledge bases, and art all carefully woven into the fabric of the university.

“We recognize there can be no room for separation when it comes to reconciliation, and each of us can be involved as Canadians, whether we are Indigenous or non-Indigenous,” Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux said.

Click here to view the modules. 

For more info, contact Dr. Wesley-Esquimaux at



President’s Council for Truth and Reconciliation Members:





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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being named Research Infosource's Research University of the Year in our category for the fifth consecutive year (2020); ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2020 World Universities Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit