December 7, 2020

Dear Board of Directors of the First Nations Students Association,

I am writing to you today on behalf of the Simon Fraser Student Society to state our support for your Board of Directors, and for your ongoing “Let Us Speak” campaign. We recognize and condemn Simon Fraser University for the gaslighting and dismissive actions taken against Indigenous students and community members by SFU, and will work towards standing with the FNSA so that the work of reconciliation is done in a genuine, consultative manner that relieves the labour of this work from the backs of Indigenous student leaders.

We would particularly like to speak in full recognition and condemnation of both the First Peoples Gathering House event that the FNSA was not invited to or consulted with, and also the recent Aboriginal Steering Committee meeting in which FNSA Board Members and community allies were barred from entry. In meetings with SFU administrators and the SFU President, we have actively been relaying the demands made by the FNSA, but we recognize that this is a small step in providing tangible support to your board. We will continue to push the following priorities:

  1. Creating space on the First Peoples Gathering House (FPGH) Building committee for Indigenous Students and a Community Advisory Board
  2. Delaying the development of the FPGH until Indigenous students and key community members are properly consulted
  3. A public statement being released by SFU outlining the harms that have been caused to Indigenous students and the community, and committing to ensure that Indigenous students are prioritized in future reconciliation efforts at SFU, and
  4. Commiting to following through the original Calls to Action set out by the FNSA and Indigenous student community

We are committing to supporting the FNSA and Indigenous students through active consultation and by respecting and bolstering decisions and calls to action made, including through support of the “Let Us Speak” campaign. Indigenous students deserve to be safe at SFU, and for reconciliation to be done with respect to our Indigenous community members.

In solidarity,
SFSS Board of Directors

Read the full statement here.