Leadership update: Academic Director, Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

January 27, 2022

Professor Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-Kwe) will be stepping down from the position of Academic Director, Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC), after the end of the 2021/22 Winter Session.

On behalf of the university, I would like to thank Professor Turpel-Lafond for her leadership, and her support to the Centre and UBC over the past four years. During her time as Academic Director, the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre has made significant progress to advance its mandate and goals, including building core programming and staff. Under Professor Turpel-Lafond’s leadership, a strong focus was also placed on honouring the voices of residential school survivors and Indigenous communities.

“It has been a great honour to work with the Centre at UBC over the past few years, and I am especially thankful for the creation of an Indigenous Advisory Council comprised of survivors and chaired by the Chancellor of UBC,” says Professor Turpel-Lafond. “One of my key goals was strengthening our connections with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and working to locate, digitize and repatriate records and information to communities and individuals. Records and testimonies require significant work because of gaps, errors and omissions. There are many outstanding justice and human rights matters as Canada grapples with the legacy of colonial policies and the lasting impact on individuals, families, and Indigenous peoples. I am grateful for the work of First Nations governments, such as Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, who are leading the way. I also thank the team at the Centre for their ongoing motivation and for consistently achieving above and beyond expectations in this demanding but necessary work. While the Centre is new in this important endeavour, it has immense potential to support survivors and be in service to communities.”

The Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver, will announce a process in the next few months to find a successor in the role of Academic Director. In the meantime, further information about the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre can be found at https://irshdc.ubc.ca.

Please join me in thanking Professor Turpel-Lafond for her substantial contributions to UBC and to the advancement of Indigenous human rights.

Andrew Szeri
Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver

Visit our Research site | Visit our Students site | Visit ubc.ca

UBC ranks among the world’s top 20 public universities.