The Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario has spent more than a decade indigenizing the school.

The Vice-Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives says executive leadership is key to indigenizing post-secondary institutions. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux made her comments on Thursday during the University of Saskatchewan’s national forum on reconciliation.

She says the university’s presidents and executives need to be the driving force behind the change.

“There has to be some authority given. You have to take out this sort of block of authority – either take it out or let us be a part of it  – because that’s where the decisions are made.”

Wesley-Esquimaux says Lakehead University has had a Vice-Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives for the past 13 years.

“So they’ve made that effort already, they’re now doing the indigenous content requirement across the entire university.”

Wesley-Esquimaux added that Lakehead works closely with First Nations communities.