All post-secondary institutions have obligations under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, as well as the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice to end injustice and to address the legacy of abuse, trauma, and violence that Indigenous peoples have experienced and continue to experience. These moral and legal obligations are also reflected in the Universities Canada Principles of Indigenous Education.
The University of Windsor took its next step in working to meet those obligations Wednesday, announcing that law professor Beverly Jacobs has accepted the position of senior advisor to the president on Indigenous relations and outreach, effective Jan. 17 for a two-year term.
This interim position will provide vision, leadership, advocacy, and outreach, and will work consultatively to finalize the structure and responsibilities of a permanent Indigenous leadership role at the executive level at the University of Windsor and to address systematic support for the ongoing and necessary work of Truth and Reconciliation.
Over the next two years, Dr. Jacobs will pursue priorities to improve relationships with Indigenous peoples — students, faculty, staff, Indigenous communities and organizations; guide the development of the new Indigenous space on campus; collaborate on the development of respectful and sustainable decision-making and consultation processes related to Indigenous matters; and help the University chart its path as it begins to take more comprehensive action towards Indigenization and decolonization.
Jacobs’s leadership will be critical as the University begins the work of enhancing Indigenous leadership on campus and embedding Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into the University’s culture. She will work directly with the president and the executive leadership team; faculty, staff, students, and administrators from across campus; and members of Indigenous communities on and off campus.
Jacobs is transitioning into this role from a previous role as associate dean (academic) in the Faculty of Law, and practices law part-time at her home community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. She obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Windsor in 1994, a Master of Law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2000, and a PhD from the University of Calgary in 2018. Her research focuses on Indigenous legal orders, Indigenous holistic health, Indigenous research methodologies, and decolonization of Eurocentric law. Her work centres around ending gendered colonial violence against Indigenous people and restoring Indigenous laws, beliefs, values, and traditions.
Jacobs is a former president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. She is nationally known for her work and commitment to Indigenous politics in Canada, is universally respected in this regard, and is understood to be a tireless and formidable advocate. She is a leading voice and an expert with respect to issues facing Indigenous people in her community, in Ontario, across Canada, and internationally.
Inducted as a member of the Order of Canada in 2018, Jacobs received a Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law from the governments of France and Germany. She also received a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Person’s Case in 2008, an Esquao Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, and a 2008 Canadian Voice of Women of Peace Award from the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative and Civilian Peace Service Canada.