University of Winnipeg offers new virtual course highlighting calls to social justice

·3 min read

The University of Winnipeg will be offering a new virtual course titled, “231 Calls to Social Justice: Developing Community Based Responses to Systems Impacting Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls (MMIWG) and 2SLGBTQQIA Persons.”

The new course will run from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7 and will be taught by Sandra Delaronde, a member of U of W’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, and former co-chair of the MMIWG Manitoba Coalition.

To Delaronde’s understanding, U of W is the only institution in Canada which offers students the chance to engage in profound analysis on this issue.

“I believe this issue is critical to our country and Indigenous people as this is going to be the only time we will have the opportunity to identify the issue and do something about it collectively,” said Delaronde on Friday.

“The university is quite ahead of the curve taking this as a current issue and creating a chance for students to learn something that is going to support them and allow them to apply their learning in the real world.”

The course aims to examine the history of the road to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, implement documents and scope of the Inquiry and its findings, as well as provide an opportunity for students to develop Indigenous and community-based responses to the implementation of 231 Calls to Action.

Readings for the course will include the Final Report of the National Inquiry, parts of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“The health and well-being of Indigenous women are central to our families, communities and nation to survive and thrive. We need to find ways to do that, and I think that the Final Report of the National Inquiry is a good foundational document to support people who are doing development work in addressing change,” said Delaronde.

Delaronde will also be inviting guests such as MMIWG survivors and family members to talk about their lived experience and provide a deeper analysis of the issue. Another esteemed guest such as the Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry, Marion Buller, will also talk a bit on the issue during the course.

231 Calls to Social Justice will be offered on weekends from 9 am to 4 pm. About 20 students have already signed up for the course, most being Indigenous women.

“One thing we know is that our students have a desire to learn about the experiences of MMIWG and Two-Spirit community members. We have worked with Sandra before, and she had suggested that this would be a course that would of interest to students,” said Jaime Cidro, Director of the U of W’s Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) in Indigenous Development.

“Sandra had brought it up, but we had been looking at ways to incorporate this into existing course content. When the opportunity arose to have Sandra teach this course, we jumped at the offer. She is the expert at this content because of her professional experience working with families.”

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun