Glossary of Terms

  • Anti-Racism is the ongoing race-based discrimination, negative stereotyping, and injustice experienced by Indigenous within Canada. It includes ideas and practices that establish, maintain, and perpetuate power imbalances, systemic barriers, and inequalities outcomes that stem from the legacy of colonial policies and practices in Canada. 

  • Decolonization is a necessary and ongoing process of unlearning, uncovering, and transforming legacies of colonialism, as well as utilizing the educational and knowledge systems available to relearn and rebuild the social, cultural, and linguistic foundations that were lost, or eroded through colonialism. Decolonization also requires making space, balancing, generating, and enabling diverse knowledge systems to thrive in the academy as well as in and through educational and knowledge transmitting places for Indigenous Peoples, the formerly colonized or continuing colonized nations, peoples, and cultural knowledge systems. 

  • Equity is concerned with justice and fairness. Equity is a state of being, a process, and a condition that is rooted in fundamental human rights, and, therefore, is not reliant on individual choice or voluntarism. Whereas equality may lead to an assumption of an even playing field, and may shape individual and institutional efforts to treat people the same, equity requires more; it is about understanding and accommodating difference and providing people with what they need to enter and thrive within the academy. Equity requires proactively identifying and combatting discriminatory ideas, attitudes, behaviours, as well as systems, policies, processes, and practices that lead to disadvantage. It is concerned with a legal and ethical commitment to doing what is right and necessary to achieve such a state through proactive measures to identify root causes, and design interventions to remove obstacles to fair opportunities and experiences in all spheres of academic life. 

  • Inclusion is a skiilset and a condition that must be cultivated and that require resources to advance an equitable and fairer academy. Inclusion entails interconnected actions to dismantle barriers that impede participation, engagement, representation, and empowerment of members of diverse social identities and from various backgrounds in the life of the academy. Inclusion means that we design our educational and cultural spaces from the beginning so that they can be used fully by all peoples and all communities. Inclusion foregrounds the social and institutional relations of power and privilege, drawing necessary attention to who gets a seat and voice at the decision-making tables, and who is empowered by institutional processes, policies, systems, and structures.

  • lndigenization work involves proactively including Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and relating across the university. It is a process of resurgence and "re-centering of Indigenous ways of knowing and being that never ceased to exist despite colonial structures and processes and their attempts of assimilation and erasure. It is a response that draws upon the traditional or ancestral knowledges of Indigenous peoples that have been passes orally and intergenerationally from ancestors over thousand of years through ceremonies and Indigenous-centred teaching methods such as story-telling, being on the land, and language use Settlers and allies cannot lndigenize universities by themselves. Required is the application of Indigenous ways of knowing directly through Indigenous collectivity, Indigenous voices, knowledges, materials, and epistemologies. 

  • Reconciliation can be defined as the process of addressing settler colonialism and forging informed and healthy relationships to remedy the gaps in historical knowledge that perpetuate ignorance and racism toward Indigenous peoples.11 The findings of the TRC reveal that "...much of the current state of troubled relations between [Indigenous] and non-[lndigenous] Canadians is attributable to educational Institutions and what they have taught, or failed to teach, over many generations. Despite this history-or, perhaps more correctly, because of its potential-the TRC believes that education is also the key to reconciliation. Accordingly, reconciliation is not about 'closing a sad chapter of Canada's past', but about opening new healing pathways of reconciliation that are forged in truth and justice. While the work of reconciliation is critically important, it is Important to note that work toward decolonization is uncomfortable do to its deprivileging nature.


Federation for the Humanities and Social Science (2021). Igniting Change: Final Report and Recommendations 

{April 9, 2021). Congress Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (AC- EDID). Available at­-change-final-report-and-recommendations-en.pdf 

Queen's University (N.D). Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and lndigeneity 2019-2020 Annual Report. Available at

Smith, G. H., & Smith, L. T. (2019). Doing Indigenous work: Decolonizing and transforming the academy. In E. A. McKinley & L. T. Smith (Eds.), Handbook of Indigenous education (pp. 1075-1101). Singapore: Springer. 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada {2015). Final Report, Findings, and Calls to Action. Available at

United  Nations  (2017).  Declaration  on  the  Rights  of  Indigenous  Peoples.  Available at

Universities Canada (2015). Principles on Indigenous education. Available at

Western University (N.D). Guide for Working with Indigenous Students: lnterdisclp/lnary Development Initiative (IOI) in Applied Indigenous Scholarship. Available at

Western University (2016). Indigenous Strategic Plan. Available at 

Western University (2020). Indigenous Strategic Plan Annual Progress Report: Fa/12020. Available at

Western University (N.D). Office of Indigenous Initiatives - Guidelines for Working with Indigenous Community Members. 

Western University (N.D). Office of Indigenous Initiatives - Key Terms: Reconciliation, lndigenization, Decolonization, and Resurgence: 

Western University (2018). Provost's Task Force on the Implementation of Western University's Indigenous Strategic Plan - Final report. Available at 

Western University (2020). President's Anti-Racism Working Group Final Report. Available at 

More Terms

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) 

Ontario Human Rights Commission – Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination: 

Canadian Race Relations Foundation – CRRF Glossary of Terms:   

Racial Equity Tools - Glossary: