Indigenous Peoples in Canada disproportionately face challenges around access to clean drinking water, food security, reliable energy, suitable housing, healthcare, transportation and communications infrastructures. Currently, there are 81 long-term drinking water advisories affecting more than 50 Indigenous communities across the country, 40 of which have been in effect for more than a decade. Food insecurity and improper nutrition afflicts more than 70% of northern communities, with 80% of Indigenous children at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime.
Launched in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls for Action (2015), the Reconciliation Through Engineering Initiative (RTEI) is a multi-disciplinary project aiming to bring researchers at CGEN and Indigenous community members together to understand, collaborate and develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. RTEI is being implemented in the spirit of making reconciliation a journey to better understand one another and the ancestral knowledge, values and traditions that have existed on these lands for more than 10,000 years. Harmonizing Indigenous knowledge and wisdom with the expertise of research faculty members at the University will be essential to creating sustainable solutions to benefit communities and Canadians at large. RTEI will also work closely with community Elders and youth to inform project development and implementation. RTEI seeks to utilize this co-learning approach to co-develop sustainable solutions founded on respect, understanding, responsibility and reciprocity.
As many Elders remind us, each of us is walking here for only a short time, but we each have an opportunity and a responsibility to make life better for those who will come after us.
This initiative is being led through a partnership with the Global Indigenous Development Trust.