Campus talk by Dr. Phil Fontaine to be rescheduled
STATEMENT BY DR. LLOYD AXWORTHY, PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR UNIVERSITY OF WINNIPEG
RE: PROTEST AT PUBLIC LECTURE BY DR. PHIL FONTAINE – JAN. 22, 2014
“The University of Winnipeg is located on Treaty One land in the heart of the Metis Nation within one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Canada. We nurture an inclusive campus that respects all students, faculty, staff and visitors.
In 2011, The University of Winnipeg changed its governance structure to create an Indigenous Advisory Circle which offers us guidance as we continue to learn from each other.
The University of Winnipeg was honoured to invite respected First Nation leader and former National Chief of the Assembly of first Nations, Dr. Phil Fontaine, to share his insights on critical issues facing Canadians today, including the issue of resource extraction and development in a manner that balances the needs of Indigenous people, protects the environment, and allows for private sector engagement.
We were encouraged that there was such a strong student, faculty and community interest in hearing Dr. Fontaine speak. Our Convocation Hall was standing room only. It is deeply unfortunate that today a small group of protestors disrupted this important lecture.
Within the Indigenous traditions, all members of the community have a voice. In a university environment, we expect that people may disagree and hold strong views. We also expect that everyone is given the opportunity to state those views and to be heard. The protestors today employed intentionally disruptive tactics to silence all voices but their own. As a university, we regret that an opportunity for meaningful and respectful dialogue was prevented earlier today.
The university is working with Dr. Fontaine to reschedule his lecture on campus as soon as possible.”
Dr. Phil Fontaine Lecture: A look back and a look forward
Event description: An advocate for human rights, and a survivor of residential school abuse, one of Fontaine’s crowning achievements is the residential schools settlement. At $5.6 billion in individual compensation, Fontaine negotiated the largest settlement in Canadian history –for the largest human rights violation in Canadian history – arising out of the 150-year Indian residential school tragedy. Dr. Fontaine is also Chair of The University of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.