Truth, Openness, and Reciprocity
At a discussion forum in February 2021, organized to address the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a UTM student stated the reason for his participation: “the truth matters.” This is a principle relevant to every aspect of UTM’s work, but it applies most acutely to a university-wide commitment to the truth that comes before Indigenous reconciliation. We must confront the legacies of Canadian settler colonialism; understand the intergenerational trauma inflicted on Indigenous peoples; and recognize Indigenous accomplishments and resilience.
The truth entails a responsibility to action. UTM is committed to initiatives rooted in U of T’s response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin. We also centre Indigeneity in campus life, seeking genuine reciprocity among people and between people and the natural world. We cultivate right relations with Indigenous peoples both as an urgent end in itself and as the foundation for right relations with everyone and everything.
A culture of reciprocity needs openness. We ground our everyday actions—from research and teaching to communications and student supports—in a transparent generosity that calls people into UTM’s communities. We encourage respectful dialogue and deep, deliberate, unrushed understanding. Our leaders explain decisions and learn from challenges and failure.
- Listen, communicate, and act with kindness, transparency and evidence-based honesty.
- Answer calls for truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in every aspect of university operations.
- Deepen reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities.
- Have we sought and spoken the truth—in our communications, events, operations, teaching, research and our interpersonal interactions?
- Have we championed excellence achieved through the flourishing of others and the world around us?
- Have we implemented actions promised in U of T’s Response to the TRC: Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin?
- Have we sought new opportunities to embed anti-colonial and Indigenizing initiatives across campus life?
- Have we cultivated relevant, respectful, and reciprocal Indigenous partnerships in our research initiatives, teaching, student engagement, campus development and civic engagements?