To the Indigenous Community,
I want to first acknowledge that my actions and inactions have caused serious harm to Indigenous students on campus, individuals who the SSMU aims to represent. In this instance, I was aware of the mandate passed by Legislative Council but failed to act upon the information in a timely manner. I recognise the importance of communicating the information concerning the appeal of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to the student body and regret not doing so in the timeline mandated by the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner, the Indigenous Affairs Committee, and the Legislative Council, which reduced the impact of the press release.
I understand and recognize that Indigenous students have, historically and presently, been poorly represented by the SSMU. I apologize for my actions that contributed to the sense of systematic institutional failure. Working together with the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner, we will move forward together towards a model of restorative justice. As Commissioner Jirousek has explained, this process of restorative justice centres on the Blackfoot values of reciprocity, responsibility, and interconnectedness.
As suggested by Indigenous students, I will seek out intensive allyship training, and will work with the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner in volunteering with an Indigenous community organization. These steps are necessary in building an understanding of the Indigenous community and healing divisions between this community and the SSMU. Advocating for institutional change is a difficult and emotionally laborious process and one that I am so sorry the Indigenous student community has had to endure especially while feeling unsupported by the members of the SSMU Executive. It was never my intention to contribute to this process.
I would also like to extend and offer my support to the Indigenous Affairs Commissioner, Tomas Jirousek, who has been the target of racist and bigoted comments across different social media platforms. That is not okay. Spewing hatred is never okay.
Sanchi Bhalla / Vice-President (Internal) | firstname.lastname@example.org