Office of Equity and Inclusion

Supporting Iranian Students and Employees

We at Dalhousie recognize that students, faculty, and staff from Iran, and beyond, are significantly impacted by recent and ongoing events in Iran. The internet black-out that remains in effect in Iran makes it difficult to get news and prevents much-needed communication with loved-ones, and members of our community may be profoundly worried for the safety and well-being of family members and friends.  For students and colleagues impacted by these concerning events, it may be difficult to find the mental or emotional energy to focus on work or studies.  With this in mind, we would like to make our community aware of the following supports and services during this difficult and stressful time:

Supports for Students

For students in Halifax, in person and virtual counselling options are available via Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Centre (2nd floor, LeMarchant Place) which offers same-day counselling services from Monday to Saturday.   To book an appointment, click here.  For students in Truro, our health team is available by calling 902-896-6300 or book an appointment here.

If you prefer an off-campus option,  Good2Talk  offers free, professional, and confidential counselling support (24/7) by phone and text.  Further resources are available to international students through the “I.M. Well” app which provides international students with 24/7 counselling support in 180 languages.  For more information about I.M. Well and how to download the app, visit the Student Assistance Program website

Students who are temporarily unable to attend classes are encouraged to consult their syllabi and email their instructors for guidance on absences. If applicable within your course or faculty, complete the Student Absence Declaration Form.  International students are encouraged to connect with the International Centre advisors and can make an appointment via the online booking system to make an appointment.  The Student Accessibility Centre (Halifax) and Student Support Centre (Truro) may be of further assistance for students requiring supports relating to protected characteristics under human rights legislation. For questions that are specific to your academic program, please consult with the academic advisor(s) in your faculty.    

Supports for Employees

Employees are encouraged to connect with Accessible Employment ( to discuss the wide range of support options available. Dalhousie has also recently extended benefits for mental health supports via Blue Cross. Colleagues and their families are also encouraged to seek personal support from Dalhousie’s Employee Family Assistance Program which provides confidential resources in various formats. Services are available 24 hours a day and may be reached or 1-800-387-4765

Dalhousie’s core values are grounded in our Human Rights policies, and our community stands against violence against women and discrimination of all kinds.



Latest memos from the Vice Provost, Equity & Inclusion:

Mi’kmaq History Month


To:         The Dalhousie University community

From:       Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor

                        Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity, and Inclusion

            Catherine Martin, Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Date:       Monday, October 3, 2022

Re:         Mi’kmaq History Month

Dear Dalhousie community:

Kwe'! For the past 29 years the month of October has been officially declared as Mi’kmaq History Month - Wi’kipatmu’k Mi'kmawey. In 1993, Premier John Savage and Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy designated October as the official month to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaw culture and heritage. The month begins with Treaty Day (October 1) which speaks to the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty. When we acknowledge “we are all treaty people,” it is in reference to treaties such as this which to this day guide our relationships on lands the Mi’kmaq have called home for thousands of years. These treaties are part of a long tradition of relationship-making meant to protect Indigenous ways of life with reciprocity and respect.

Dalhousie’s faculty, staff, students and alumni join with other Nova Scotians to celebrate and build awareness of Mi'kmaq history and heritage, and to increase understanding of the rich Mi'kmaq culture. This is a month to learn, to reflect, to listen and to share.

On Wednesday, Dalhousie will host our 12th annual Mawio’mi in Halifax, one of our university’s most beloved annual gatherings. All are invited to attend and take part in the food and festivities.

Dalhousie proudly and permanently flies the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag on all campuses. Last week, as we marked the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30), Dalhousie also raised the orange “Every Child Matters” flag to acknowledge the inter-generational impacts of residential schools.  The flag will continue to fly throughout Mi’kmaq History Month.

Every year, the Mi’kmaq History Month Committee selects a poster to commemorate the month.  This year it has chosen to highlight Mi’kmaw Beadwork & the Art of Beading as its theme:

“Mi’kmaw beadwork represents life and creation. Generations of hands, eyes, backs, and fingers have worked for balance in intricate designs and colour palettes. From wampum and bone beads to suspenders and peaked caps to contemporary medallions, beauty emerges from skill and love. Ceremonies have a special place to focus the intentions of artists’ hearts and minds. In kitchens and wikuoml masters have shared their practice with those who were dedicated. In turn, they were asked to share with the next generation. Agnes ‘Aggie Baby’ Gould told new beaders “share, please share.” We carry that teaching in our hearts as we celebrate this year’s poster.”

The message of the beadwork reminds us that despite the challenges faced by the Indigenous/Mi’kmaw peoples, they continue to thrive, celebrate and create. This is a powerful message for all of Dalhousie’s students, faculty and staff. It prompts us to strive to better understand the teachings of the Mi’kmaq and include these in our own teaching, research, learning (and unlearning) of Indigenous knowledge, practices, and culture. (For those looking for a good place to start this work, here is a listing of helpful resources.) This is important as Dalhousie continues its efforts towards reconciliation through its many Indigenous initiatives and engagement under the guidance and leadership of the Indigenous Advisory Council, our Elders-in-Residence, and through closer collaboration with the Mi’kmaw communities on whose territory Dalhousie sits.

M’sit Nokomaq / All my relations,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Catherine Martin
Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.

We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi'kma'ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.

Celebrating Pride


To: The Dalhousie University Community

From: Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

Rick Ezekiel, Vice-Provost Student Affairs

Aparna Mohan, President, Dalhousie Student Union

Date: Thursday, July 7, 2022

Re: Celebrating Pride

Each spring and summer, people around the world recognize Pride and celebrate 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities. In much of North America, June is designated as Pride Month. Communities in Nova Scotia celebrate Pride at various points throughout the summer. Truro held its pride celebrations late last month, while Dalhousie joins Halifax in doing so throughout the month of July. According to President, Deep Saini, “at Dalhousie, we are truly thankful to the dedicated 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and supporters who have paved the way in building a more inclusive university and community.”

Pride celebrations are linked to a common purpose: to fight for continued recognition of the basic human rights for all 2SLGBTQIA+ people everywhere, a fight that rose to prominence with the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York. Unfortunately, unprecedented assaults against the community continue across the globe, with attempts to apply anti-trans legislation and anti-trans rhetoric, anti-queer censorship, continuously misnaming (dead-named), misgendering and negatively representing the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in social media. It is against this background that Dalhousie’s students, faculty, staff, friends, family, and alumni join with the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in Halifax, the rest of the country, and the world in celebrating Pride to protest continued discrimination, to connect and celebrate.

The Pride Progress Flag was developed in 2018 by non-binary American artist and designer Daniel Quasar. It includes black and brown stripes, drawing attention to experiences of people of colour within the LGBTQ community, in addition to pink, blue and white stripes to represent explicit inclusion of transgender and gender non-binary communities. We know that racialized, transgender, and gender-nonbinary people continue to experience disproportionate violence, discrimination, and exclusion within our society, and that our efforts must explicitly focus on inclusion across these intersections. At Dalhousie, we strive for anti-racism within our equity work, including specifically recognizing the experiences of Black queer and trans people. This month the Speak Truth to Power virtual forum series organized by the Office of Equity & Inclusion has chosen as its theme Black Queer and Trans Lives Also Matter. The virtual event is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 from 6-8pm (

Dalhousie University acknowledges that it sits on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People and as we celebrate Pride, we specifically recognize the Two-Spirit and Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities of Nova Scotia, and the Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance.

Our Pride celebrations at Dalhousie are one part of many commitments to ensure that members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities are included within the fabric of the university, and that we can authentically express all aspects of our human identities, including diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, while experiencing a sense of belonging and thriving at Dalhousie.

Please join us in celebrating the rich contributions 2SLGBTQIA+ people make within the Dalhousie community and committing ourselves to actions that reduce exclusion and discrimination faced by members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities locally and globally. The Progress Pride flag will be raised on the Halifax campus and we invite all to join this event on Studley Quad TODAY, July 7 at 12:00 p.m.

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to join the Dalhousie University group marching in the Halifax Pride Parade. The parade is on Saturday, July 16 and begins at noon, rain or shine. For more information on participation in the parade, please click here. (link)

For a full listing of Pride activities on campus and in the community, visit:

Have a safe and happy Pride!

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

Rick Ezekiel
Vice-Provost Student Affairs

Aparna Mohan
President, Dalhousie Student Union

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the L’nu’k. We are all Treaty People.

African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose contributions have enriched that part of Mi’kma’ki, currently known as Nova Scotia, since 1604.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


To:           The Dalhousie University community

From:       Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

                Amina Abawajy, Education Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Services

Date:        Monday, March 21, 2021

Re:           International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21. On this day in 1960 police opened fire at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid pass laws in Sharpeville, South Africa; 69 people were killed and 180 were injured. The UN General Assembly Resolution 2142, passed in 1966, proclaimed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to be commemorated annually.

Dalhousie stands against all forms of racial discrimination and has made this a central message in our personal harassment policy and discrimination statement. Today, we remind Dalhousie of the importance of this year’s theme — “Voices for Action against Racism” — to speak out loudly, listen closely, and act decisively. It is essential for us to listen to those experiencing injustice and ensure their concerns are at the centre of efforts to dismantle the racism that persists in our institutions, social structures, cultures, and everyday life.   

In Canada, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) — including migrants, refugees, and so many others — continue to confront stereotyping, stigmatization, scapegoating, discrimination, and violence. We see the harmful effect of this in all our social institutions including in the justice system, health, housing, employment, access to basic amenities including clean water, and experiences in education. While we have made strides in becoming a more civic society, the legacy of centuries of enslavement, colonialism, and racism have not completely disappeared and continue to create barriers for safe equity advancement of BIPOC populations.

This month also commemorates another UN observation: March 25 is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. The date asks us to reflect on one of the worst violations of human rights in history, in which more than 15 million men, women, and children were victims over a 400-year period.

We all have a responsibility, every day, to collectively and individually stand up against racial prejudice, disrespectful attitudes, and harmful actions — both intentional or unintentional — in the classroom, in the workplace, where we live and socialize. Let us work towards a world where we all enjoy our human rights and end the violence of racial discrimination. 

For more information on activities organized around International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, visit the Human Rights and Equity Services website.

International Women’s Day


To:                 The Dalhousie University community

From:             Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

                      Alice Aiken, Vice-President Research and Innovation

                      Gitta Kulczycki, Vice-President Finance and Administration

Date:              Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Re:                International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, first celebrated in 1911 and an occasion to acknowledge and honour women around the world for the contributions we make each day to society and to recommit to gender equality and gender equity.

The theme selected by the United Nations (UN) for this year’s International Women’s Day is Changing Climates: Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. According to the UN, “advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.” Women, and in particular economically marginalized women and/or Black, Indigenous and Women of Color (BIPOC), are more vulnerable to climate change impacts that also threaten their reliance and custodial relationships with natural resources. When women’s voices are included, they demonstrate how to navigate opportunities and constraints, empower themselves and become effective, strong leaders for climate adaptation and mitigation.   

“Women globally have made our world a safer and healthier place to live and work,” says Dalhousie University President and Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini. “At Dalhousie, many of our successes have been because of the efforts of women students, faculty, staff members, and leaders, who have had to overcome barriers along the way. Our work towards gender equality and gender equity at the university, and more broadly, must be intentional and ongoing.”

“Part of this commitment involves supporting women in research,” says Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice-President of Research and Innovation. For example, the vision for the Women in Research Caucus (WiRC) is to build a research community at Dal that listens to, fosters, supports, and promotes all women’s research — faculty and trainee — equally. (People interested in learning more can email

Dalhousie leads by example in the work for a sustainable tomorrow and recognizes women’s engagement in leading this action. Dalhousie’s Office of Sustainability, with executive director Rochelle Owen, is part of the portfolio of Gitta Kulczycki, Vice-President of Finance and Administration. “A diversity of minds, experiences, and ethical practice helps to solve our problems of today and tomorrow,” says Gitta.

Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead with their critical work. Let us use this International Women’s Day to commit to calling out, standing up, and acting to eliminate gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping of women on our campuses and in society.


Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Alice Aiken
Vice-President Research and Innovation

Gitta Kulczycki
Vice-President Finance and Administration

African Heritage Month at Dalhousie

Monday, January 31, 2022

The commemoration of African Heritage Month can be traced back to 1926 when Harvard-educated Black historian Carter G. Woodson founded a week to recognize the achievements of African Americans. Here in Canada, Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament, introduced a motion in the House of Commons on December 14, 1995 aimed at noting “the diversity of the Black community in Canada and its importance in the history of this country.” February is now recognized nationally as Black History Month to honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. In Nova Scotia, the month of celebration and reflection has been known as African Heritage Month since 1996.  

Dalhousie recognizes this year’s African Heritage Month provincial theme, Through Our Eyes: The Voices of African Nova Scotians. According to the Nova Scotia African Heritage Month Information Network, “this theme also explores and examines the effects of anti-Black racism and the voice of African Nova Scotians who blazed the trail for change…and aligns with the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) 2015-2024.”  

We encourage everyone to use this month to further engage in events, programming and learning opportunities on campus and in our broader community. African Heritage Month allows us the opportunity to recognize the longstanding history of African Nova Scotians and all people of African descent in the development of Dalhousie as an institute of higher learning, in Nova Scotia and Canada overall.  While this focus is being recognized in African Heritage month, at Dalhousie we believe in centering on the African Nova Scotia community on our campus throughout the year and every year.

As part of our continued commitment to working with the African Nova Scotian community, the African Nova Scotia Strategic Report — completed by the African Nova Scotia Working Group along Dalhousie’s Director, African Nova Scotia Community Engagement — has been integrated into Dalhousie’s strategic plan, Third Century Promise.  

Overall, Dalhousie continues to expand and enhance resources (including scholarships), services and opportunities for African Nova Scotian youth. Increasingly, Dalhousie researchers are focusing on the needs and well-being of African Nova Scotians, with vital community partnerships. These ongoing initiatives are part of Dalhousie’s attempt to grow as a civic university that embraces our social responsibility to our local communities. 

According to Dalhousie President Deep Saini:    

I would like to take the opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to the Black faculty, staff and students who continue to make our institution a richer and more inclusive place to work and study. We remain committed to supporting you. This commitment was reaffirmed when we joined with other universities and colleges across Canada to sign the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Higher Education. As proud as we are of Dalhousie’s many equity accomplishments, we recognize that we must continue to do more. This African Heritage Month, let’s reflect on the work ahead while also paying our respect and gratitude to the African Nova Scotian communities and their elders, on and off our campus, for their many and continuing contributions to our university, our province and our world.  

Despite the many challenges of this past year, we have made progress that we can celebrate when it comes to the support and inclusion of our Black faculty, staff and students. Below are just a few of our collective successes and major milestones: 

  • An Assistant Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion position was created on a rotational basis with Dr. Barbara Hamilton-Hinch, a proud African Nova Scotian, seconded as the first in this role. 
  • African Nova Scotian Strategy Co-Chair Prof. Michelle Williams is one of the Inaugural Provost Fellows with her research focusing on the African Nova Scotian community.  
  • Michelle Patrick is the first African Nova Scotian woman to hold the position of president of the Dalhousie Professional and Managerial Group (DPMG). 
  • Recommended by the Lord Dalhousie Report, the first Sankofa scholarships were awarded to an African Nova Scotian, a Black Canadian, and a Black Caribbean student. 
  • The James R. Johnston Chair celebrates 25 years of scholarly impact. 
  • The first Black Studies Research Institute in the region, piloted by Dr. OmiSoore Dryden and a group of Black scholars and allies, was approved. 
  • A Black Studies major is being piloted by another group of Black scholars and allies and is pending. 
  • Dr. Afua Cooper was successful in receiving funding of more than $1 million from the Canadian government for a three-year project titled A Black People’s History of Canada, which will help to fill a gap in African Canadian history education.  
  • With the University of King’s College and the Black Cultural Centre, Dalhousie hosted a pre-conference event ahead of the first-in-Canada Universities Studying Slavery Conference scheduled for 2023. The event featured a keynote by Sir Hillary Beckles.  

For an overview of Dalhousie and community events happening during African Heritage Month, visit the Human Rights & Equity Services website. We also invite you to join us at Dalhousie’s virtual African Heritage Month launch event and flag-raising on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at noon. The event will be streamed on Dalhousie’s YouTube channel. We will be flying the pan-African flag and African Nova Scotian flag on the Halifax and Truro campuses throughout February.   

Let us use African Heritage Month as an opportunity to recommit to learn, reflect and celebrate the experiences and contributions of people from the African Diaspora far and near, and for continued action for a more equitable future.    


Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion  

Dominic Silvio, co-chair faculty, Black Faculty and Staff Caucus 

International Day of Persons with Disabilities


To:                  The Dalhousie University community  

From:              Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion 

                       Judy MacDonald (Co-Chair) and the Staff & Faculty (dis)Ability Caucus   

Date:               Friday, December 3, 2021  

Re:                  International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Today, December 3, has been designated by the United Nations as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Dalhousie University stands in strong support with our community of persons with disabilities and joins with the rest of Canada and the world in using this day as a reminder that disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security.  

Disability inclusion is central to our own growth here at Dalhousie as evident in the work of the Dalhousie University Accessibility Committee (DUAC) to turn our commitment into a reality, along with the support and advocacy from our recently formed (dis)Ability Caucus.

In 2017, Nova Scotia passed the Accessibility Act, becoming the third Canadian province to adopt accessibility legislation. The act recognizes accessibility as a human right and outlines how the province will improve accessibility by preventing and removing barriers. The Act sets a goal of an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030. Dal is required to craft and submit a comprehensive accessibility plan by April 2022. However, Dalhousie’s approach is not just to meet but exceed the core requirements set out in the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act through a collaborative approach. Learn more about Dal’s Accessibility Plan.

According to Quenta Adams, Director of Student Academic Success and Co-Chair, Dalhousie Accessibility Advisory Committee:  

I am thrilled by the work that is happening within the province and at Dalhousie. As we prepare to introduce our first multi-year accessibility plan, building upon Dalhousie’s previous EDIA initiatives and commitments, we would not have gotten to this space without the voices from our community being heard and amplified. This day, and the days after, is a reminder that we have an obligation to our students, staff and faculty to create and sustain accessible and equitable learning, living and playing environments.  

The focus on disability inclusion at this time could not be more urgent as the global COVID crisis continues to deepen pre-existing inequalities, including people with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are among one of the most excluded groups in our society not just in health but also within our educational and employment systems.  

Dalhousie University is the only postsecondary institution in Canada currently with a (dis)Ability Caucus. The caucus offers staff and faculty with (dis)Abilities an understanding space to share their struggles with ableism, to learn from one another about effective ways to tackle barriers, and to find a collective voice with volume — a voice whose time has come to be heard.  According to one caucus member:

Everybody on the caucus gets it – we are a sounding board for each other. We have different impairments, unique personalities, distinct roles within the university, yet a common bond exist as we have all paid the costs of living in an ableist world yet find hope in striving toward an inclusive university and society.      

Dalhousie is committed to making sure that we do all that we can to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind, and that we work together in creating an accessible Dal. This is important as another caucus member reminds us: “we are assets, not liabilities.”


Theresa Rajack-Talley 

Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion  

Judy MacDonald  

Co-Chair, Staff & Faculty (dis)Ability Caucus  

Director, School of Social Work  

Members of the Staff & Faculty (dis)Ability Caucus  

Dalhousie University is located in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi`kmaq. We are all treaty people.    

We acknowledge the histories, contributions, and legacies of the African Nova Scotian people and communities who have been here for over 400 years.

Transgender Day of Remembrance


To:                  The Dalhousie University community  

From:              Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice Provost, Equity and Inclusion 

                       Lisa Delong, Director, Human Rights and Equity Services  

Date:               Friday, November 19, 2021  

Re:                  Transgender Day of Remembrance

We are in the midst of Transgender Awareness Week (Nov 15-19) and tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, recognized annually on November 20 around the world to honour those who lost their lives due to anti-transgender hatred or discrimination. The Transgender Pride Flag will be raised on our Halifax and Truro campuses and our permanent campus flags will be lowered to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Learn more about campus flag protocol at

The Transgender Day of Remembrance helps raise awareness of hate crimes against transgender people and honours the lives of all trans people who may otherwise be forgotten. The day was founded in 1999 to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman in Allston, Massachusetts. Dalhousie University strongly opposes violence and harassment based on discrimination and hate. We are committed to providing a safe and respectful environment, and to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusiveness.  

As part of our commitment to protect and learn, Dalhousie is offering an online training program that explores the meanings and common misconceptions around terms like transgender, gender identity, and gender expression and some practical actions we can take to make our workplace and our communities more inclusive for people with diverse range of gender identities and expressions.  

To access the course, please follow these steps: 

  1. Click on this link: 
  2. Create an account using a Dalhousie email address.
  3. Click on Enrol Now.
  4. Access the course through “My Courses” in the menu items on the top of the page.

Additionally, our upcoming Speak Truth to Power Forum will focus on gender-based violence. 

We encourage all members of our community to reflect on the purpose of this important date, to take advantage of this and other learning and listening opportunities, and to work together foster a safe and inclusive community for all. Let us use this commemoration to reaffirm our love and respect to all transgender people and reflect on all those affected by the physical and emotional trauma of transphobia and gender-based violence.  


Theresa Rajack-Talley 

Vice-Provost, Equity and Inclusion  

Lisa Delong 

Director, Human Rights and Equity Services

Dalhousie University is located in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi`kmaq. We are all treaty people.  

We acknowledge the histories, contributions, and legacies of the African Nova Scotian people and communities who have been here for over 400 years.

Mi’kmaq History Month and Dalhousie Mawio’mi


To:                   The Dalhousie University community  

From:               Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity, and Inclusion 

                        Catherine Martin, Director of Indigenous Community Engagement  

Date:                Friday, October 8, 2021  

Re:                   Mi’kmaq History Month and Dalhousie Mawio’mi  

Dear Dalhousie community:  

In 1993, Nova Scotia Premier John Savage and Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy declared October as the official month to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaw culture and heritage. The month begins with Treaty Day (October 01) that speaks to the 1752 Peace & Friendship Treaty and recognizes that we are all treaty people on lands that for thousands of years the Mi’kmaq have called home. These treaties are part of a long tradition of relationship-making meant to protect Indigenous ways of life with reciprocity and respect.  

This year’s poster for Mi’kmaq History Month highlights four major themes: Ceremony and Consensus, Peace and Friendship, Denial and Damage, and Renewal and Reconciliation. It reminds us that despite the challenges faced by the Indigenous/Mi’kmaq peoples, they continue to thrive. Dalhousie’s faculty, staff, students, administrators, and alumni join the Mi’kmaq in celebrating their resilience and proud traditions and pay homage to their ancestors.  

History was created at Dalhousie in 2016 when, for the first time, the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag was raised on the Halifax campus’ quad. That moment marked a significant milestone as the Mi’kmaq Flags are now permanently installed on all Dal campuses. While such symbolism of respect is important Dalhousie is committed to doing more. We see ourselves playing a role in the teaching, researching, learning of indigenous knowledge, practices, and culture; on ways of knowing and protecting indigenous knowledge; of providing service to the indigenous communities, particularly the Mi’kmaq. In 2015 Dalhousie introduced the Indigenous Studies minor and is now in the process of extending it to a major and offering Mi’kmaq language instruction. We initiated student support services and continue to do so in ways of improving the number of Mi’kmaq students enrolled and completing their studies. We have continued our efforts towards reconciliation through the hiring of a Director of Indigenous Community Engagement to keep us truthful and connected to the community and our Elders-in-Residence program as we work in closer collaboration with Dalhousie’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

Provost Frank Harvey says there is more Dalhousie can and should do: “Recognizing that Dalhousie University sits on unceded Mi’kmaw territory and that the Mi’kmaq are the original inhabitants of this territory, we have identified the Mi’kmaq as a priority in our strategic plan, Third Century Promise (Si’st Kasqimt lnaqnipunqekl Teli L’wi’tmasimk).  

One of the campus highlights of Mi’kmaq History Month is Dalhousie’s annual Mawio’mi gathering. Last year, because of COVID-19, we could not celebrate in person.  Fortunately, this year the Mawio’mi will once again take place on the Studley Quad on Wednesday, October 13 at 10 a.m. Says key organizer, Michele Graveline, “We welcome the Dalhousie community to the 11th Annual Dalhousie Mawio'mi. Join us for a celebration and honouring of Mi'kmaq and Indigenous culture. We look forward to the big drum and dancers, the amazing Indigenous artisans, and the wonderful food to fuel our bodies and spirits in this unique time. All COVID protocols will be adhered.  

For more on the Mawio’mi, visit the Dalhousie Events Calendar.   

To learn more about Mi’kmaw history and culture visit'kmaw%20history%20and%20culture%20resources.pdf

M’sit Nokomaq / All my relations,

Theresa Rajack-Talley 

Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion  

Catherine Martin

Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people

Racist graffiti incident on campus


To:        The Dalhousie University community

From:     Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic

             Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Date:      Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Re:         Racist graffiti incident on campus

On Monday, September 27, 2021, Security Services received a report of racist graffiti written on LeMarchant Place Residence’s fourth floor by individuals who do not belong to that student residence.  Those responsible have been identified. The matter has been referred to Halifax Regional Police and disciplinary action will also be pursued through Dalhousie's Code of Student Conduct.

The hostile and vile expressions of anti-Semitic and anti-Black racism were abhorrent, deeply impactful and an affront to all that we value and aspire to stand for as a community — inclusion, respect, human decency and dignity.   

Dalhousie strongly condemns this act of vandalism and hatred that so blatantly contradicts our core values and clearly violates university policy condemning expressions of hate, bias and discrimination in all forms.   

We believe that the collective talents of students, faculty and staff at Dalhousie are maximized in communities and environments that are welcoming and inclusive, where our differences provide dynamism and vibrancy to and enrich the life and work of the university, and where everyone feels a sense of belonging and is empowered to fully contribute and achieve their best.

We will continue to work towards ensuring a safe and respectful learning, living and working environment for everyone.

We encourage anyone affected by these events to reach out to the university for the following available resources and supports.

Dalhousie Security is responsible for the safety and security of the Dal community and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Security Services by phone (902-494-4109) or email (   

Services for Students:

Student Health & Wellness Centre (

Black Student Advising Centre (

International Centre (

Multifaith Centre (

Services for Faculty and Staff:

Employee and Family Assistance Program (

Human Rights & Equity Services (

Dalhousie University sits on the Traditional Territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty People.

We acknowledge the histories, contributions, and legacies of African Nova Scotian people and communities who have been here for over 400 years.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - September 30


To:           The Dalhousie University community

From:       Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

                Catherine Martin, Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Date:        Monday, September 27, 2021

Re:           National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - Thursday, September 30

Dear Dalhousie community,

This year, for the first time, September 30 has been designated by the Federal government as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday to commemorate the horrific legacy of residential schools in Canada.  This new holiday is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 calls to action.  On this day, Dalhousie University will be closed, classes will not be held, and only employees designated as essential will be required to work. In his August 31 memo, President Saini made it clear that the day is for us — as a community located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq — to learn and reflect on the history, culture, and lived experiences of Indigenous peoples.

This year, the day marks a very special and sacred time in our history as we honor the lives of the children who attended Shubenacadie Residential School and all the others across Turtle Island - Canada.  We encourage the Dal community to take some time from everyday life to reflect and soul search on the atrocities that were done to the sacred lives of Indigenous children, some of who never returned home; to understand that this is part of Canada’s truth/ history; and begin to embark upon a journey of healing and change. As Catherine Martin emphasizes: “This day is not a “holiday”; rather it is a memorial, and a time of grieving, forgiveness, and transformation.”

September 30 has, since 2013, also been designated Orange Shirt Day across Canada to commemorates the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who created the day. Orange was the colour of her shirt on her first day attending residential school, and it was taken from her when she arrived.

In honor of the National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Henry Hicks Building (Halifax) and Cummings Hall (Truro) will be lit orange on September 30 as part of a national “Light the Country Orange” campaign organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and orange flags will be raised at both campuses.   

As part of reflection, we encourage all to participate in the special events hosted by the Dal community including:

  • A three-day speaker series titled "Preparing for a Day of Truth and Reconciliation" hosted by the Indigenous Health in Medicine program on September 27, 28, 29 (email;
  • A free course titled 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, Dal Libraries;
  • A screening of the film The Secret Path on September 29 at noon in the McInnes room at which special TRC postcards will be distributed;  
  • An Orange Shirt unveiling on the Truro Campus in the Student Learning Commons, which will be on display beginning September 28 at 12:30 pm until Monday, October 4. (see The Golden Ram, Dalhousie Agricultural Students' Association monthly campus newspaper, for more info).  
  • A virtual sunrise ceremony hosted by Catherine Martin, Director of Indigenous Community Engagement, on September 30 from 7-7:30 a.m. (Link will be made available from the HRES website.)
  • A virtual Zoom presentation from Dal faculty member Patricia Doyle-Bedwell, hosted by the Dalhousie Faculty Association, taking place on September 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • A virtual talk and discussion on Tuesday, September 28th from 6-8pm, by Catherine Martin, hosted by the School of Resource and Environmental Studies Student Society.

There are many more events taking place in Mi’kmaki, and across Turtle Island. For more information on both Dalhousie and community events, visit the HRES website. We also invite the Dal community to join the online sunrise ceremony organized by APTN and airing live on television. More information here.

We end this memo with a quote from the beloved late Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy who said in a film (NFB 2004) - "At night we cried for our parents… we will never let this happen again.”   

M’sit Nokomaq / All my relations,

Theresa Rajack-Talley

Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Catherine Martin

Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.