President and Vice-Chancellor Vianne Timmons to receive Education award from Indigenous organization

By Greg Campbell Posted: September 25, 2018 10:50 a.m.

On behalf of the University, President Vianne Timmons accepts an Eagle Staff from Elder Roy Bison (right) and his son, Teddy Bison (left). The Eagle Staff was presented to the University in December 2017 to recognize the institution’s support for Indigenous students.
On behalf of the University, President Vianne Timmons accepts an Eagle Staff from Elder Roy Bison (right) and his son, Teddy Bison (left). The Eagle Staff was presented to the University in December 2017 to recognize the institution’s support for Indigenous students. U of R Photography

University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Vianne Timmons has been announced as a recipient of a 2019 Indspire Award for Education.

The announcement of the 2019 Indspire Award recipients is being made today in the House of Commons. Later, the recipients will be recognized at a reception hosted by the Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons.

“As someone who has worked to promote and enhance Indigenous education in Canada, I am honoured to be recognized with an Indspire Award,” says Timmons. "This award means a great deal to me, and I like to think that my Mi’kmaq ancestors would be proud of the work I have tried to do over the years.”

The awards, formally known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, celebrate and encourage excellence throughout Canada’s Indigenous communities and represent the highest national honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its leaders and achievers.

Dr. Timmons grew up in Labrador.  After she earned her Education degree in 1980, her first teaching job was as a learning assistance teacher in Granisle, B.C. teaching children on the Babine First Nations Reserve.

“During my time in northern British Columbia I became passionate about Indigenous education. There was such potential in the children I worked with from the Babine First Nation and yet that potential was so under-realized. It only added to my sense of frustration.”

Under Timmons’ leadership, the University has made a resolute commitment to Indigenization. Since the inception of the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan, the University has focused on implementing important initiatives to support the success of Indigenous students, faculty and staff.

In 2015, the University of Regina adopted its 2015-2020 strategic plan, entitled peyak aski kikawinaw, Cree for "We are one with Mother Earth.” The plan identifies Indigenization as one of two overarching areas of emphasis and intends to transform the academy by including Indigenous knowledges, voices and practices so thoroughly as to make them essential elements of the University.

President Timmons’ support was instrumental in the establishment of such initiatives as the Indigenous Advisory Circle, the Aboriginal Student Centre and the establishment of the position of Executive Lead –  Indigenization. In the past number of years the total percentage of self-declared Indigenous students has risen to approximately 13 per cent.

 The 2019 Indspire Award ceremony will take place in Calgary on February 22.