Leadership from the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) acknowledge and stand with our Indigenous colleagues and students at McMaster and broader communities who are living with the pain of the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children found in Kamloops BC. It is with profound sadness that we recognize this knowledge was not new, but like other stories of injustice toward Indigenous peoples, has gone unacknowledged for too long. 

We note the significance of how the term ‘evidence’ is used in our colleagues’ statement from the Indigenous Learning Lodge, and we humbly learn from it. HEI has foregrounded the importance of evidence-based practice to advance health care and policy, but we also understand that appeals to evidence-based practice has fostered a particular ideal of what counts as evidence. We recognize this creates a narrow standard of what constitutes evidence, one that can overshadow other ways of knowing. Going forward, we will acknowledge a wider understanding of what counts, and embrace testimonial knowledge and traditional Indigenous methods as part of the evidence that is greatly needed to help remedy past and current injustices. We commit to foreground diverse ways of knowing. We will encourage consideration of this undeniable evidence that demonstrates the magnitude of the harms to Indigenous peoples and commit to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

This statement is small and imperfect. We offer it as just a first step. We respectfully commit to growing the scope of our understanding. We will use what resources we have as researchers, educators and health care providers to help implement McMaster’s Indigenous Health Education Strategy, to educate ourselves, and create safe spaces for dialogue and a more inclusive learning environment. 

We cannot know the magnitude of this pain for Indigenous peoples, but we offer our sincere condolences and stand with Indigenous colleagues, students and communities tending to this loss.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lisa Schwartz
Associate Chair, Faculty Affairs and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Alfonso Iorio
Chair, HEI

Dr. Romina Brignardello-Petersen
Associate Chair, Education

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