Adventure, Truth and Reconciliation in Secwepemcul’ecw

The Adventure Studies Department is based out of the traditional lands of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc within Secwepemcúl’ecw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc people.
Call to ActionTRU Wolf

It is an honour and privilege to live, work and play on these lands as well as the lands of other First Nations.

The Adventure Studies Department welcomed the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), in particular Call to Action #62 which called upon educators to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into the curriculum. 

The department shares the TRC’s belief that education must remedy the gaps in historical knowledge that perpetuates ignorance and racism, and that education is the key to reconciliation.

Some of the initiatives that the Adventure Studies Department have undertaken related to Call to Action #62 include:

  • Students early in the programme are taught about Canada’s and British Columbia’s colonial history, the treaty process and displacement of Indigenous people from their traditional territory, the history of the Indian Act and Residential Schools, and Indigenous connection to place.
  • Students visit the Kamloops Indian Residential School and learn from an elder and school staff about how 150000 Indigenous children in Canada were forcibly removed and separated from their families to attend residential schools whose purpose was to minimize and weaken family ties and cultural linkages, and to indoctrinate them into Euro-Christian Canadian society.
  • Elders welcome students on field courses (e.g., backpacking, rafting, and whitewater kayaking) and learn about Indigenous history, customs, traditions and place names.
  • Students on surfing courses are mentored by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ) Guardians about their history and culture and how recreationalists and instructors can be good allies and help support Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
  • Faculty and Indigenous Adventure graduates teach a four-day backcountry ski lodge-based Avalanche Safety Training course free of charge to Indigenous youth.
  • Students on sea kayaking courses learn about the guiding principles which underpin Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. These guiding principles are based on ethics and values from Haida law.
  • Partnerships have been entered into with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Community and Family Services, and others.
  • Students on a fourth-year Trails to Reconciliation field school course go to various Indigenous communities in British Columbia exploring decolonization through Indigenous tourism and community-based tourism development.
  • TRU has also developed the Coyote Project, which is a pan-institutional program to accelerate Indigenization at TRU. Adventure is highly involved in the Coyote Project and has received funding to work with the Simpcw Band in studying the Cottonwoods ecosystem along the North Thompson River.