Issue 22, (Volume 144) (March 18, 2024)

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March 18, 2024 Vol. CXLIV, No. 22


Sarah Artemia Kronenfeld


Caroline Bellamy

Creative Director

Andrea Zhao

Managing Editor, External

Shernise Mohammed-Ali

Managing Editor, Internal

Mekhi Quarshie

Managing Online Editor

Ajeetha Vithiyananthan

Senior Copy Editor

Kyla Cassandra Cortez

Deputy Senior Copy Editor

Jessie Schwalb

News Editor

Selia Sanchez

Deputy News Editor

Maeve Ellis

Assistant News Editor

Eleanor Yuneun Park

Comment Editor

Georgia Kelly

Business & Labour Editor

Alice Boyle

Features Editor

Milena Pappalardo

Arts & Culture Editor

Salma Ragheb

Science Editor

Kunal Dadlani

Sports Editor

Arthur Dennyson Hamdani

Design Editor

Kaisa Kasekamp

Design Editor

Zeynep Poyanli

Photo Editor

Jessica Lam


Olya Fedossenko Video

Aaron Hong

e Varsity would like to acknowledge that our o ce is built on the traditional territory of several First Nations, including the Huron-Wendat, the Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit. Journalists have historically harmed Indigenous communities by overlooking their stories, contributing to stereotypes, and telling their stories without their input. erefore, we make this acknowledgement as a starting point for our responsibility to tell those stories more accurately, critically, and in accordance with the wishes of Indigenous Peoples.

Letter from the cover artist

Moving from Northwestern Ontario to the GTA was quite a culture shock. Life was fast-paced, I took public transportation for the frst time, and I felt like I did not belong here. My frst year was particularly rough. I remember how lonely I felt not seeing other Indigenous students on campus. It didn’t help that the campus was still under COVID-19 regulations.

It wasn’t until my second year that I was able to contact UTM’s Indigenous Centre. While our community startup was small, I participated in workshops, luncheons, and even danced in UTM’s frst powwow. In retrospect, I could not be more thankful for the friends I’ve made through our Indigenous community on campus.

Historically, the University of Toronto is a colonial institution. King’s College — the former University of Toronto — had been given 226,000 acres of crown land from the government to sell for proft. They were profting of the land of Indigenous people.

Existing as an Indigenous person in an institution with settler-colonial history is empowering in itself. I’ve met other Indigenous students in my classes and introduced them to those working at the UTM Indigenous

Centre. Indigenous voices need to be heard and celebrated in these institutions. Creating a community allows us to gather a collective voice to state our needs in reconciliation.

Through my artwork, I want to refect on the celebration of our culture. Thinking back on last year’s powwow at UTM, I feel so proud that our community was able to come together. During my frst year, I met so many other Native students who’ve had similar experiences as me.

In the background of this piece, I illustrated three prominent buildings from each of our campuses. I wanted to show that, though my experiences have mostly been at UTM, it’s important to celebrate Indigenous communities on all of our campuses. The foral designs are important to me as an artist because as an Anishnaabe person, I want to be able to pay homage to the importance of our connection with nature. Because of this, I will often illustrate foral designs in my pieces.

I’m proud to attend UTM. Our school continues to provide opportunities to Indigenous students, including myself, allowing us to continue to thrive and build communities. Reconciliation from the university is an ongoing process, but gathering and amplifying Indigenous voices is a step in the right direction.

Copy Editors:



Elinor Loucks, former Varsity editor, dies at 91 Remembering a writer, mother, editor, and friend

On December 2, 2023, former Varsity editor Elinor Jane Loucks passed away in her sleep at her home in Madison, Wisconsin.

A former Varsity editor, Elinor actively volunteered in her community, wrote and edited prolifcally, and served as a mother, grandmother, spouse, and friend.

Her era at The Varsity

Born Elinor Bernstein on February 26, 1932, in Belleville, Ontario, Elinor enrolled at U of T in 1949 to study English. She quickly became involved with The Varsity, starting out as an ofce assistant in 1950, progressing to design assistant in 1951, design editor in 1952, and managing editor for the 1953–1954 school year.

During Elinor’s time at The Varsity, the paper — at this point printed daily — featured extraordinary life and energy, along with regular hijinks. For one example, in March 1952, a joke issue reprinted a speech by then-U of T President Sidney Smith announcing the introduction of a universal, compulsory Remedial English course — although The Varsity replaced every instance of the word “English” with a more suggestive term.

The gag provoked much laughter and merriment around campus at-large, according to the newspaper’s lead editor at the time, but stirred outrage in certain grim-faced student leaders.

The Students Administrative Council — the precursor to today’s University of Toronto Students’ Union and, at that time, The Varsity’s funder — struck out to snatch all copies out of the paper of of stands and suspended the paper entirely


for two weeks. The entire masthead — Elinor among them — resigned in protest of this transgression against freedom of the press.

Elinor graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1953 and continued on to a graduate degree in English.

Orie Loucks — a forestry major and wrestler who a Varsity sports report once gave the perplexing nickname “the Osculator”— worked with Elinor on The Varsity throughout this time. In the 1953–1954 school year — when Elinor was in graduate school — they held two of the top three positions at the paper, with Elinor serving as managing editor and Orie serving as one of the two ‘associate editors’ heading the paper.

A lifelong friend

The two married in 1955. Elinor went on to fruitfully apply the skills that she had cultivated at The Varsity throughout the rest of her life. She worked jobs preparing manuscripts and as a departmental secretary, and she volunteered as an editor of the Prairie Society Newsletter and as chief administrator of the Miami University Institute for Learning in Retirement. She co-authored a book on her family’s history and “regularly copy-edited the written work of everyone in the household,” according to an obituary of her published by Cress Funeral and Cremation Service.

Elinor managed her husband’s global career as he became a professor of ecology at the University of Wisconsin and later at Miami University, and as an environmental activist. Her obituary, “Orie Loucks’ remarkable curriculum vitae would not have been possible without the household management Elinor provided.”

It also notes her love for reading, flowers, mysteries, and puzzles, and highlighted the friendships she maintained throughout her life with people she met in high school, U of T, and in the many cities where she lived.

Orie died in September 2016. Elinor is survived by her children and their spouses — Eric and Mary Loucks; Kimberly and Michael Coplien; and Ted Loucks and Tina Robbins — and her three grandchildren Emily Loucks, William Loucks, and Lucy Robbins.

The Varsity of today expresses its deep sorrow at her passing, and immense pride at its ability to call a woman of such impressive character a part of its history.

A News article published in issue 21 entitled “Shehab Mansour elected 2024–2025 UTSU president” originally stated that presidential candidate Aidan ompson’s website mentioned the advocacy organizations Climate Justice UofT and Tkarón:to Students in Solidarity with Palestine, after they had jointly made an Instagram post about his campaign. In a message to e Varsity, ompson clari ed that page of his website was released after the Instagram post was made.

A News article published in issue 21 entitled “UTGSU BOD discusses changes to election rules after possible illicit campaigning” originally stated that there are 20 seats on the UTGSU’s Board of Directors, but in fact, there are 28 seats for directors — divided evenly among each of the four divisions — and six additional seats for the UTGSU executives, for a total of 34 seats. 2 THE VARSITY NEWS
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TPS arrests student in connection to voyeurism incident at New College

Arrest comes after at least four reported incidents of voyeurism since an arrest in January

On March 16, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) announced that it had arrested a student in connection to its ongoing investigation into voyeurism incidents occurring at New College.

The TPS alleges that the student, charged with one count of voyeurism and one count of

mischief, entered a women’s washroom and flmed a student while they showered. TPS received reports of the incident on March 12, making it the most recent of at least four voyeurism incidents reported to TPS and Campus Safety since the beginning of January.

TPS has not responded to a Varsity request to clarify whether it believes the student has committed all of the incidents or whether other individuals may also be responsible.

One of many

On January 10, U of T informed New College students, but not the broader campus, about a January 9 incident where someone held a phone above an occupied shower stall in a Wilson Residence all-gender washroom. In interviews with The Varsity, students expressed concerns about the lack of transparency, arguing that all students should know about these incidents.

Another incident — this time in the publically accessible frst-foor women’s washroom — occurred on February 7, and U of T alerted all students and provided a picture of a suspect. Yet, another incident occurred on February 15 in a Wilson Hall residence shower stall.

U of T implemented measures meant to pre-

“Listen to your heart”: Ojibwa-Cree Elder

vent further voyeurism, including retroftting all shower stalls in the Wilson Hall and Wetmore Hall residences by February 23 to increase privacy, requiring a key fob to enter the washroom where previous incidents had occurred, and increasing security guard patrols in the area.

The 2024 incidents come in the wake of a January 4 arrest connected to multiple reports of voyeurism happening at New College from July to October. The TPS charged the arrested man with fve counts of voyeurism.

Contacts and resources

Student advocacy and resource group New College Against Sexual Assault and Harassment provides peer support sessions. Students can access them by completing a form available in the group’s Instagram bio.

In its news release about the arrest, the TPS encourages anyone with information to contact the police at 416-808-5200. Individuals can also submit an anonymous tip to 416-222-TIPS (8477) or at “Police believe there may be more victims,” the release reads. Students, staf, and faculty can access counselling and assistance accessing accommodations or legal aid through U of T’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre.


Chacaby shares stories with U of T community

Event at Multi-Faith Centre marks International Women’s Day with intersectionality

On the afternoon of International Women’s Day on March 8, around 15 U of T students and community members gathered in a Multi-Faith Centre conference room. Painting supplies and food adorned the tables, and attendees painted while storyteller, writer, and Ojibwa-Cree Elder Ma-Nee Chacaby — who uses she and he pronouns — shared stories over Zoom.

During the event, which the Multi-Faith Centre and Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre co-hosted, Chacaby — author of the 2016 auto-biography entitled A Two-Spirit Journey: the Autobiography of a Lesbian OjibwaCree Elder — recounted stories about her family and told attendees about her experience as an Indigenous and Two-Spirit person.

“Arrival of visitors”

Sitting against colourful quilts, with paintings hanging above him, Chacaby began with a story he called the “arrival of visitors.”

Chacaby currently lives in Thunder Bay, but she told attendees that her grandmother, who Chacaby believes to have been born around the 1860s, spent the frst few years of her life in what is now known as Saskatchewan. His grandmother’s parents died when she was quite young, and a Cree family adopted her.

“[The family and my grandmother] had a hard life travelling together. When they fnally arrived to James Bay, [my grandmother] made a promise to herself that she was going to just live and accept whatever was going to happen. And that made her journey easy,” Chacaby recounted.

“And then one day [my grandmother] met this man” — a half-Ojibwa and half-French man who told Chacaby’s grandmother he would like to marry her. “So they fell in love,” said Chacaby, and the two later married.

In her years with her adopted family,

Chacaby’s grandmother “learned how to hunt. She knew how to make drums… She survived on her own for many years already when she was young.” She also learned medicines and became a “great medicine woman,” later passing this knowledge down to Chacaby.

“White Frenchmen and Englishmen, fur coats and redcoats were just coming… then they would come and steal the women,” Chacaby remembered her grandmother telling her. “The Anishinaabe didn’t fght back. When [the settlers] shot them, they just got shot. My grandmother tried to heal them. Some of them died, and my grandmother, she said she just kept working.”

Chacaby’s grandparents decided to leave the area and began to travel, eventually raising six kids into their teen years. At one point, Chacaby’s grandfather fell ill and was fown to a Winnipeg hospital. “[My grandmother] was really sad, but he kept saying, I’m coming back, I’m coming back. But he never came back. So he died in Winnipeg, and my grandmother just kept travelling.”

“A Two-Spirit baby”

Chacaby’s mother had an accident at a young age and spent many years in a Winnipeg hospital. She later contracted tuberculosis and was transferred to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Thunder Bay, where Chacaby was born.

“Then my grandmother heard that her baby daughter had a baby girl, and she said, oh, I gotta raise that girl,” Chacaby recounted.

“I was four years old, and my grandmother said that I was a Two-Spirit baby, and I didn’t know what that meant…I was about 15 when I asked her, what does Two-Spirit mean?” Chacaby remembered his grandmother pointing out same-sex couples living near them and telling Chacaby that, one day, he would marry a woman.

The English term Two-Spirit translates the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag, which refers to someone who has both male and female

spirit inside them. Anishinaabe Elder Myra Laramee frst proposed using the term during the 1990 Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference in Winnipeg.

Although many Indigenous people use TwoSpirit to describe a range of culturally-tied gender, sexual, and spiritual identities, some Indigenous languages have terms to describe specifc types of 2SLGBTQ+ identities.

Some Indigenous communities — including Ojibwe and Plains Cree communities — particularly honoured Two-Spirit people, who often served as caretakers, medicine people, beaders, and treaty negotiators in many Indigenous communities.

“[My grandmother] said, when a woman goes and marries a woman, it’s okay. That’s the way our lives were led before white people took it away from us,” Chacaby remembered. “Just listen to your heart, your mind and your soul. They want everything out of you. The only thing they can’t change is your skin,” she said.

As a product of colonization, Christian missionary settlers pushed heteronormativity and stricter gender roles onto many Indigenous Peoples, spawning homophobia even within some Indigenous communities. The 2019 fnal report released by the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls notes that 2SLGBTQ+ Indigenous people “are often forced to leave their traditional territories and communities... to fnd either safety or community.”

“Thunder Bay, when I was coming up, it was really hard… my own people were against me

because they were saying, now you’re adding one more thing so people can hate us,” Chacaby told attendees. But Chacaby told the audience he didn’t care: “I was born here. This is my grandmother’s land we’re walking on.”

It didn’t click for Chacaby that she might be Two-Spirit until after she’d come out. He discussed a meeting with other 2SLGBTQ+ Indigenous people where someone mentioned the term. “That is when I thought, you know, my grandmother told me about Two-Spirit people way back since I was four years old. How come it didn’t hit me to say that when I was coming out?”

Chacaby continues to lead protests for TwoSpirit people and the environment. He is an Elder in Thunder Bay, learning and passing on knowledge. He is also a knowledge keeper for the Assembly of First Nations — a national advocacy organization with roots as far back as 1870.

In an interview with The Varsity, Shesha Taylor — a fourth-year student specializing in fundamental genetics and its applications and a Student Life programs assistant — said that the main takeaway she received from the talk was the importance of acceptance.

“I think a lot of women, especially from marginalized communities, fnd it difcult to accept themselves, or they deal with traumas that are very much perpetrated by their societies and their communities,” she said. “Accepting yourself for who you are and being in community and trying to work through that is really important.” MARCH 18, 2024 3
painted, listened to stories, discussed reconciliation.
Content warning: This article discusses sexual harassment. Student charged with voyeurism, mischief.
Check out the themed content in this issue by looking for this symbol!

TAs, student educators vote to ratify last week’s proposed labour agreement with U of T

Other CUPE units voted on new collective agreements over this week

Today, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 Unit 1 announced on X that its members had voted to ratify a tentative agreement with U of T on members’ employment terms, which a union bargaining team signed on March 4. The unit represents around 6,000 academic workers at U of T that are not employed by the federated colleges, including post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students employed as teaching assistants at U of T.

If members had not ratifed the agreement, the unit would have had to return to negotiations, posing the risk of a future strike.

Last week’s negotiations

In the early hours of March 4, the bargaining team, representing fve units from CUPE 3902 and CUPE 3261 — which together represent approximately 8,000 U of T education and support workers — came to tentative collective agreements with U of T administration. In the weeks leading up to the deal, the units were threatening to strike, which would have drastically disrupted many university operations. The university made its fnal ofers shortly before the units would have crossed the legal threshold at 12:01 am on March 4 allowing them to strike. U of T’s Vice President, People Strategy, Equity

& Culture Kelly Hannah-Mofat also released a statement on March 4 thanking the units’ bargaining teams for their “professionalism and hard work throughout negotiations.”

Although the bargaining teams signed the tentative agreements, each units’ members then needed to vote on whether to ratify the newly negotiated agreements before they could go into efect.

rati cation

CUPE 3902 Unit 1 held an online vote from March 8–11 where members determined whether to ratify the agreement. 3,304 members of the unit — just over half of the unit’s members — cast their ballots, with 87.8 per cent of voters in favour of adopting the agreement.

The new three-year agreement, which will go into efect on March 12, includes wage increases, shift premiums on weekends for certain workers, higher health insurance maximums in some areas, and a guaranteed subsequent appointment for masters or undergraduate students in positions represented by the unit who have worked at least 100 hours in a given year.

In an email to the unit’s members, Lily Ziuyue Zhang — the unit’s vice-president — wrote, “This round of bargaining may be over, but your organizing doesn’t stop.” She wrote that the unit would release further information

With this latest vote, U of T is no longer at risk of a teaching assistant strike this academic year.

in the coming days for how members can get involved in the units’ work and in “other important initiatives.”

The other four units of CUPE that bargained alongside CUPE 3902 Unit 1 are also holding separate ratifcation votes. The three units from CUPE 3261 — which collectively represent over 1,000 caretakers, food service workers, and dining hall staf — have scheduled

multiple sessions for members of each unit, from Tuesday through Friday of this week, to discuss and vote on ratifcation.

CUPE 3902 Unit 5 is holding its ratifcation vote online from March 11–14.

Students weigh in on the UTSU rideshare program Program returns this month after demand speedily picked up during previous fall pilot

The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) Vice-President of Student Life (VPSL), Fiona Hewes, pitched the idea for a campuswide rideshare program during her campaign for the role of VPSL in 2023. Once Hewes was elected, the union implemented the rideshare pilot program, assisting students with a voucher to travel to and from campus via Uber within a certain radius.

However, some students noted that the program’s various iterations haven’t efectively accomplished its goal of helping students travel safely.

Pilot initiative

The UTSU introduced the frst to to Rideshare Program as a pilot initiative with a budget of $15,000. It designed the program to ensure students could safely travel from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am. Students scanned a QR code that allowed them to sign up for a profle under the UTSU. From there, they could choose to bill the UTSU $10 for their Uber ride between those times. This initiative ran from October 2 to December 3, 2023, when the UTSU shut the program down due to overwhelming uptake.

In an email, Hewes told The Varsity, “The uptake of the program increased exponentially to a degree that my team had not anticipated. Thus, the program shut down about two weeks before our expected end date.”

Hewes also noted other hurdles that contributed to the pilot’s closing. “We also had issues with students using the program outside the city and Canada. We initially did not impose geographic barriers due to complications with the Uber Business portal.”

When asked about the efectiveness of the pilot program, some students feel that it fell short of achieving its intended goals.

Marisa Martel — a graduate student studying English — noted that, as a whole, she believes that the program is a necessity. However,

she feels that the initial rollout was ill-prepared because the UTSU failed to anticipate a large uptake, especially given that “transit safety is of concern to many commuters.” Last year, some students voiced discomfort about using latenight transit in the wake of a perceived increase in TTC violence.

Ariane Caybot — a third-year student majoring in linguistics and sociology — also mentioned that when the program limited the radius to 7.6 km, that alienated her and other commuters who live farther away from campus.

In an email to The Varsity, Hewes wrote, “We disclosed that this program was a pilot initiative. Because it was a test run, it was precisely subject to changes (and issues). On behalf of the 2023-4 VPSL team, I thoroughly apologize to the people I let down due to lack of clarity. These roadblocks will be fundamental to how we plan to tweak the program so it helps as best as possible.”

Program reinstatement

Following the end of the pilot initiative, the union updated and reactivated the program. Now running from March 1 to April 30, the program has returned with a slew of changes.

Hewes told The Varsity that, this time around, the UTSU restricted the hours where students could access discounted Uber rides from 1:00–5:00 am to ensure that students don’t use the app as a replacement for the TTC, and to ensure the longevity of the program.

The UTSU will also track how many rides they credit to prevent the program from being overwhelmed with requests. Specifcally, Hewes noted that once the program has given out 156 ride credits for the week, it will automatically shut down until the next week.

These updates were made in direct response to the issues that caused the pilot program to end prematurely. However, despite these refnements,

students still appear to be divided on the overall efectiveness of the rideshare program.

Lisa Doan — a third-year student majoring in sociology — wrote in a message to The Varsity, “I think UTSU’s rideshare program is a great start for ensuring that students commute home safely.” However, Doan wrote she took issue with the new hours implemented. “I still feel like there are some equity issues, especially that the new hours from 1:00–5:00 am… do not support students like me who wouldn’t be able to get a ride home from my station when subways aren’t running.”

Hewes wants people to know that the union hears and appreciates student criticism. “This year, I aimed to establish the program's fundamental backbones so the next VPSL could continue if they believed in it. I sincerely hope students see the program's potential, and I am so grateful for your collaboration and patience.” 4 THE VARSITY NEWS

EmpowerUTM sweeps UTMSU election for 2024–2025 term

Joelle Salsa elected UTMSU president, results to be be approved at March board meeting

On March 15, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) released the unofcial election results of its 2024–2025 elections. The EmpowerUTM slate swept the election, beating out ForUTM for all president and vice-president (VP) positions.

For the 2024–2025 academic year, students elected Joelle Salsa as UTMSU president, Philip Anyang as VP equity, Ronny Chen as VP internal, Daniel Ripoll as VP external, and Sidra Ahsan as VP university afairs.

Approximately 16.3 per cent of eligible voters turned out for the election, which was held from March 12–14. This is slightly higher than last year, when the voter turnout was around 14 per cent.

Candidates have 48 hours after the announcement to request a ballot recount. The Chief Returning Ofcer — the ofcial who administers the election — will present their report at the upcoming Board of Directors (BOD) meeting on March 22.

Who won?

Salsa led the UTMSU president race with 1,176 votes. The next runner-up was Ehab James of the ForUTM slate, who received 1,074 votes.

Chen received 1,285 votes for election as vice president internal, while runner-up Albert Pan received 1,070 votes.

Ripoll won for vice-president external with 1,289 votes. Simran Kaur Rattanpal, the runner-up, received 1,039 votes.

Ahsan was elected into the vice-president university afairs position with 1,217 votes. The runner-up Majo Romero received 954 votes.

For vice-president equity, the winner was Anyang with 1,287 votes. Runner-up Layla Zarroug received 1,066 votes.

Board of directors

22 students ran for the 11 available full-time student BOD positions.

In Division III of the BOD, which comprises part-time student directors at large, two seats remain vacant. Similarly, in Division IV — which comprises directors representing the professional faculties — the seat from the Mississauga Academy of Medicine remains unflled.

The union expects to release results for the BOD election on Friday.

Elections controversy

On March 11, Elliot Fabian-Fine — a third-year student who formerly served as a campaign co-chair of ForUTM, the slate running against EmpowerUTM in the election — posted an Instagram statement explaining that he had resigned from his role on the slate.

Fabian-Fine wrote that he decided to step down so he could independently criticize the UTMSU elections process, which he alleged

exerted too much control over slates’ campaigning by penalizing a member of ForUTM for engaging with a student publically on social media. According to 1.f.i of the UTMSU Elections Code, the CRO must approve any campaigning materials before slates publish them. In an email to The Varsity , Greg Owens — the CRO for the election — declined to comment and wrote that any more information they have will be available in their CRO report. They will present their report to the UTMSU BOD on March 28 during the next UTMSU BOD meeting.

SCSU discusses transit initiatives before end of term

Board discusses motions scheduled for WGM, transition to future IMPACT UTSC execs

Khadidja Roble told The Varsity

On March 12, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) held its monthly Board of Directors (BOD) meeting to discuss future transit proposals and passing the torch to the candidates recently elected for the 2024–2025 academic year.

Members also put forward a motion to change the interim president role during the upcoming Winter General Meeting (WGM) on March 25.

Transit update

During the meeting, executive members gave an update on the SCSU’s advocacy for better transit. They presented a report outlining the efects that the Line 3 closure has had on Scarborough’s transit system.

In July 2023, Line 3 — which ran from Kennedy to Scarborough Centre — experienced a train derailment, leading the TTC to permanently close the line in August. The City’s temporary busway replacement has faced delays and hurdles, and the TTC expects to complete it in 2027.

The SCSU found that according to public data from Uber, Uber trips in Scarborough had increased 72 per cent more than they increased in Toronto since the Line 3 closure, with trips to and from Kennedy station growing by 29 per cent.

The report also discusses other problems plaguing the current transit system, including limited route options, long wait times, and Scarborough’s aging and crowded transit infrastructure.

The SCSU hopes to present this project to the TTC Chair and City Councilor for Scarborough North, Jamaal Myers. They have not yet set a date to do so.

“We’ve come up with diferent strategies, short term and long term, in terms of… ameliorating the situation on our campus, but also for the broader community,” SCSU Vice President (VP) External

The short-term proposals include installing heated bus shelters along busy bus routes, upto-date Presto machines, and digital signage showing estimated times between buses. The union also hopes to push the city to implement a pedestrian scramble, which would allow people

operations, noted that these changes won’t happen overnight. “There’s a lot of legal and administrative barriers that we need to cross. That’s why it’s a four to eight month timeline.”

The union also has continued to advocate for a universal transit pass, or ‘U-pass’ — a pass that would provide UTSC students with free

to cross the street diagonally, at the intersection of Ellesmere and Military Trail.

In the long term, the SCSU hopes to advocate for a shuttle bus that would travel directly from Kennedy Station to UTSC, for increased service on the 905 bus route — which runs from Morrish and Ellesmere to Kennedy Station.

However, Akaash Palaparthy, SCSU VP

or discounted public transit trips. In a recent Instagram post, SCSU highlighted a petition for the U-pass, which currently has over 400 signatures.

Roble is also hopeful that the next wave of executives will continue her transit advocacy, but is unsure of when a U-pass will be implemented at UTSC. “My estimates are not… they can’t be

taken seriously. But I would hopefully say maybe the next two to three years,” she said.

Passing the torch

Amrith David, president of the SCSU, proposed a motion to the board for students to consider at the WGM. Currently, the VP academics and university afairs (AUA) takes on the interim president role if the president steps down. The motion would have the VP operations receive the role instead.

David served as VP AUA for the 2022–2023 school year and became interim president after Michael Sobowale resigned, citing personal circumstances in 2023. David told The Varsity that juggling VP AUA and interim president was “a lot.”

“The VP operations role and the president role also align in various ways. It makes more sense for the VP operations to actually be the interim president,” said David.

The board approved adding David’s motion to the agenda for the WGM.

David also mentioned that the current executive is hoping to smooth the transition period for the incoming executives recently elected. “The goal is to make sure that [the new executive team] don’t start from scratch… they’re just continuing the work so that they get some long-lasting changes for UTSC.”

Palaparthy also highlighted how one of the biggest problems with working in a student union is that every year a new team tries to do new things while disregarding past members’ work.

“I’m sure their visions aligned with us in terms of introducing the changes… but we’re pretty insistent upon them continuing on the work that we have already started,” said Palaparthy.

The SCSU must approve the incoming candidates during its April BOD meeting, for which the union has not yet set a date. All elected and approved candidates will begin their terms on May 1. MARCH 18, 2024 5
a u ano
UTSC Bureau Chief

University Afairs Board approves fee hikes Board discusses student

The University of Toronto’s University Afairs Board (UAB) held a meeting on February 28 where it approved increases in incidental fees for Health & Counselling, Student Services, Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Hart House services for the 2024–2025 academic year.

At the St. George Campus, as a result of these changes, fees for this coming year will increase by a total of $31.54 for full-time students — those enrolled in 1.5 credits or more per semester — and $6.30 for part-time students. For UTM and UTSC students, fees will increase by a total of $1.55 for full-time students and $0.31 for part-time students.

In the meeting, the university also expressed a commitment to reducing its reliance on student fees as a primary revenue source as part of its budget for this coming year.

Health and counselling, student services fees

The board has approved an increase of the Health & Counselling fee and the Student Services fee for both full-time and part-time students at the St. George Campus for the 2024–2025 academic year.

Full-time students will experience a combined increase of $10.83, with the Health & Counselling fee rising from $91.14 to $96.16 — a 5.5 per cent increase — and the Student Services fee increasing from $109.16 to $114.97 — a 5.3 per cent increase. Part-time students will see a combined increase of $2.16, with the Health & Counselling fee going from $18.23 to $19.23 and the Student Services fee from $21.83 to $22.99.

This fee adjustment is based on the

services, fnancial strategies, and infrastructural renovations

Government of Canada’s annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase of 2.2 per cent — refecting the change in the cost of an average assortment of goods and services — alongside the University of Toronto Infation (UTI) index. The UTI index is a specialized metric for indexing university service fees, considering various factors such as changes in salary and beneft costs, revenue from other

The division plans to reduce this fgure to 56 per cent for the 2024–2025 academic year, indicating a move toward diversifying revenue sources and decreasing dependence on student contributions. In terms of other funding sources for Student Life, university support increased from 30 per cent to 35 per cent, grants have decreased from nine per cent to seven per cent, while self-funded revenue

sources, non-salary expenditures, and shifts in enrollment fgures. The University used both UTI-based increases and increases in the CPI to calculate upcoming fee changes.

Health & Counselling and Student Services fall within the Division of Student Life department. While presenting the 2024–2025 operating plans for the division, David Newman — the executive director of student experience — emphasized Student Life’s “continued eforts to reduce reliance on student fees.” In the 2023–2024 academic year, student fees constituted 58 per cent of Student Life’s revenue.

UTGSU BOD discusses changes to election rules after possible illicit campaigning

Union general elections set to take place toward end of March

Ahead of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) general election, which will be held from March 26–29, the union’s Elections & Referenda Committee reviewed and suggested amendments to UTGSU policies surrounding elections. The amendments came after the union received a complaint about individuals potentially running as part of a slate during the December 2023 by-elections even though the bylaws disallow slates — claims that the chief returning ofcer (CRO) rejected.

At the UTGSU Board of Directors (BOD) meeting held on February 20, the BOD approved proposed changes to the policies. The union also passed a motion to allocate money towards the purchase of ofce furniture and announced that it would remove one BOD member for not attending meetings.

New election policies

The BOD meeting began with an in-camera session closed to members of the public. Once this session ended, the Director for Division 3 Kevin Xie presented a proposal for changes to the union’s rules around elections, which the BOD approved unanimously. Most of the changes aimed to clarify language around acceptable campaigning and voting procedures.

The committee also proposed including the BOD seats for UTM and UTSC graduate students in the spring general election cycle. Under the previous policies, the BOD had appointed members to those seats in September, alongside the seats for frst-year masters and frst-year PhD student representatives.

The proposed policy changes also included

increasing the amount sides can spend on referendum campaigns for yes/no referenda from $200 in 2022 to be increased based on infation to $1,000 per side. The union also increased the amount it can spend on information campaigns — referenda with “no clear or likely divisions within the membership,” according to the bylaws — from $400 to $1,500.

Alleged slates during the 2023 by-election

These clarifcations in the elections policies arrived after complaints of slate-like behaviours during the union’s most recent by-election. Under UTGSU policy G2.2.3, “no candidate shall be allowed to run for ofce with a group or party or slate afliation, nor can they have the appearance of parties or slates in the elections process.”

In a letter circulated in fall 2023, two members of the UTGSU — Department of Physics PhD candidate Julian Nickel and Pharmacology Graduate Students Association President and Department of Physics PhD candidate Robyn Learn — argued that the formation of “a slate of candidates and a campaign to re-invigorate participation in student government” was the “one clear solution” to the union’s lack of BOD members. Nickel ran in the December 2023 by-elections and won a seat on the BOD.

The letter criticized motions at the October 31 BOD meeting that proposed large-scale restructuring of the UTGSU’s fnances and included links to spreadsheets for students to register their interest in a UTGSU campaign as a candidate or supporter.

Justin Patrick — a graduate student at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and president of the OISE Graduate Student Association — fled a complaint with the UTGSU’s CRO on December 8 after the by-election, highlighting the

has remained stable at two percent of the division’s total revenue sources.

Fee adjustments for Sports & Rec

The UAB also approved the 2024–2025 operating plans and budget for the Sports & Rec programs at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and approved increases to the sessional fee for both full-time and part-time students across campuses. During the meeting, Beth Ali, executive director of co-curricular athletics & physical activity programs emphasized the “commitment to inclusion and accessibility” that the faculty has

for students.

The university will raise fees for full-time students on the St. George campus from $212.03 to $222.88, while part-time students’ fees will go from $42.41 to $44.58, marking a 5.12 per cent increase. Similarly, at UTM and UTSC, fulltime students’ fees will increase from $24.60 to $25.85, and part-time students’ fees from $4.92 to $5.17, refecting a 5.08 per cent increase.

These adjustments aim to support the faculty’s ongoing eforts to enhance Student Life through diverse and accessible sporting and recreational activities, including introducing facilities like the “long-awaited” elevator in the Clara Benson Building to improve accessibility and initiatives to foster participation among “underrepresented communities at U of T,” according to Ali.

Rising student fees at Hart House

The University of Toronto’s Hart House Warden, David Kim, outlined Hart House’s operating budget for the 2024–2025 fscal year, addressing the impacts of “cost infation” due to “salaries and capital projects” on projected revenue growth.

Student fees at the St. George campus will increase by 8.25 per cent for the upcoming academic year, with full-time fees rising from $119.53 to $129.39 and part-time fees from $23.91 to $25.88. UTSC and UTM campuses will also see an 8.2 per cent increase in student fees, with full-time fees moving from $3.67 to $3.97 and part-time fees from $0.74 to $0.80.

This fee adjustment is part of Hart House’s strategy to maintain and enhance Student Services as it enters the frst phase of its Infrastructural Renewal Project, which aims to replace the building’s aging plumbing, heating, and electrical capabilities.

potential slate formation. Patrick told The Varsity he became aware of the letter at a meeting in November. He expressed concern that the spreadsheet used to track names of those interested in supporting the students running for ofce constituted a collective campaign efort or a slate.

Patrick also explained that he took part in drafting the current UTGSU election policies and remembers that, at the time, the union decided not to allow slates because they could make campaigning as an independent more difcult. “If students want slates in their student union, they need to make sure that their rules refect that and do it in a way that promotes a healthy democracy,” he said.

After receiving the complaint, the CRO conducted an internal investigation, and concluded that, while the students’ letter used the term slate, they could not fnd “signifcant evidence to suggest that there was a group afliation of candidates during the election cycle, or the appearance of a slate or party during the election.”

In an email to The Varsity, Learn wrote that she and Nickel “never ran a slate” but “sent out a call for increased participation in UTGSU governance,” at a time when only seven of the 38 director seats had been flled.

The CRO report also afrmed the need for additional education and clarifcation throughout the entire election process on what classifes a slate. Although the union did not update the language or rules regarding slates during the BOD meeting, UTGSU Executive Director Corey Scott wrote in an email to The Varsity that the union would provide

more educational information about the parameters of campaigning during the mandatory allcandidates meeting before the general election.

urnitur urc a , n otiatin ort

The union also proposed and passed a motion to allocate $35,000 from the union’s building, planning, and accessibility fund to purchase ofce furniture for the UTGSU ofces and boardroom spaces. The executive committee informed the board that it planned to purchase desks, chairs, and shelving units for the permanent staf ofces. Amir Ghasemian Moghaddam — VP academics and funding for Divisions 3 & 4 — mentioned that the union had never purchased furniture before, and had previously furnished the UTGSU building with free furniture.

The meeting concluded with discussions of CUPE 3902 Unit 1’s negotiation eforts. UTGSU released a statement in support of the union local’s strike mandate in early February after its members voted in favour of potentially striking if the unit couldn’t reach an agreement with the university. The union local reached a tentative agreement with the university on March 3.

The union also noted to members that it would remove one board member from their seat on the board because they failed to attend board meetings, orientations, and training sessions, despite repeated attempts by the BOD to contact them. This brings the number of BOD members from 14 to 13. There are 34 possible seats on the board: 28 evenly divided between the four divisions and six reserved for the UTGSU executives. 6 THE VARSITY NEWS
During the University A airs Board meeting, the board raised students’ fees for the 2024–2025 academic year. RAYMOND WONG/THEVARSITY e UTGSU board of directors amended the union’s election policies on February 20. RAYMOND WONG/THEVARSITY

Reject pretendians, but recognize non-status Indigenous persons

Why the genocidal legacy of the blood quantum system and the Indian Act must be abolished

Content warning: This article discusses systemic anti-Indigenous racism and suicidal ideation

With the implementation of the Indian Act in 1876, traditional Indigenous forms of governance were forcibly replaced by colonizer-supported band councils. Band councils are the forms of government for Indigenous reserves, consisting of chiefs and councillors elected by individuals with ofcial band membership. Traditional Indigenous practices of determining who was and was not part of their communities were replaced by a standardized system based on blood quantum: a measurement of the percentage of one’s blood that is considered to be Indigenous.

The colonizer designed this system to increasingly eradicate Indigenous identity with each new generation to complete the cultural genocide. This has resulted in a group of nonstatus Indigenous persons whose Indigeneity is not ofcially recognized by the colonizer or its band councils. Non-status Indigenous persons struggle to tell their stories and need more support systems to rejoin their communities. This is my experience and that of my family.

The blood quantum system was furthered along by assimilation practices such as enfranchisement, a term used to refer to the colonizer labelling a person as Canadian and no longer as Indigenous. Enfranchisement takes away an Indigenous person’s political rights within their band and puts a degree of separation between them and their community. For example, several Indigenous soldiers who fought in World War I were enfranchised upon returning home. Indigenous activists such as Fred Ogilvie Loft were targeted for enfranchisement by the colonizer.

Indigenous women who married non-Indigenous men were automatically enfranchised. While this was overturned in 1985, through the 1981 — Lovelace v. Canada case in which the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled in favour of Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, who lost her Indigenous status — the process to regain status is still difcult.

One must provide proof of lineage to the time ancestors originally lost status or community membership — that is, if the last ancestor is even in the colonizer’s system — and may even need an Indigenous person with status as a guarantor for the application. There is a separate process to regain membership in one’s band.

Band council approval is essential to regaining ofcial standing in one’s community through band membership, plus lineage documents that are necessary for status and band membership applications may be in the band council’s possession. However, the band council may not want to reinstate their non-status brethren — as in the case of Brandon Engstrom and Amber Ragan of Peters First Nation before a federal court overturned the decision. In my opinion, band councils acting in this way makes it seem like they do not want to increase the number of those eligible for Indigenous benefts or political sufrage within the band.

or band council bloodism, applicants and their families risk being labelled as pretendians and being publicly vilifed by both the colonizer and bloodist Indigenous persons. The same could result even if non-status Indigenous persons self-identify, and this label could have lasting socioeconomic implications. Even those who were legitimately adopted into Indigenous communities are not spared this torture.

As a non-status Indigenous person, I live in a reality where if I so much as tell my family’s story, I could be targeted. For generations, my family has had to live among the colonizers, covertly hiding our true identity to stave of persecution for being too Indigenous for the colonizer or for not being Indigenous enough for bloodists. I am wary when I am on what would be my reserve.

Non-status Indigenous persons struggle to tell their stories and need more support systems to rejoin their communities. This is my experience and that of my family.

There is also the issue of bloodism, which is discrimination on the basis of blood quantum, that may lead band councils to view non-status Indigenous persons as not ‘pure-blooded’ enough for reinstatement. Bloodism is specifcally tied to the Indian Act and is not the traditional way of determining Indigenous identity.

The presence of bloodism illustrates how the colonizer has corrupted Indigenous communities into bouts of racist, exclusionary infghting over money and power.

The emergence of pretendians — individuals with no Indigenous ancestry who falsely claim to be Indigenous for fnancial, social, and/or political power — has made it even more difcult for non-status Indigenous persons to regain status.

If a status or band membership application fails, perhaps due to insufcient colonizer records

At school, I listen in silence as self-proclaimed proponents of social justice gleefully talk about calling out who they believe are pretendians while, through implicit recognition, they uphold the bloodism and the colonial legacy of the Indian Act. They do not understand the complexities of Indigeneity. They would turn on me in a heartbeat and group me in with pretendians.

Being non-status Indigenous does not mean receiving the benefts of being white and Indigenous without the stigma and harm that status Indigenous persons face, as some bloodists claim. It means quietly sufering from the colonial legacy and watching your family’s culture and well-being erode without access to the community and services status Indigenous persons enjoy.

I believe it is the worst identity to have because merely acknowledging it exposes one’s family to hate. I cannot change my lineage. The colonizer does not want more Indigenous persons to

exist. Bloodists do not want to acknowledge all the Indigenous persons who exist. I see no way of diferentiating not recognizing non-status Indigenous persons and wanting non-status Indigenous death.

When I come to grips with this, sometimes I wish I was dead. Other times, I wish I was never born. However, I cannot let the colonizer win and consume my family completely. There are many other families like mine. We are of this land.

I do not know if I would be welcomed at U of T’s First Nations House or if I should take courses to learn more of my people’s traditional language. I would inevitably be asked who I am. What if there is a status Indigenous person from my band in these spaces who, unaware of the extent of my family’s infltration of the colonizer state and only knowing us from what we project in colonizer spaces, calls me a liar? Would my family members’ testimonies and documents proving our lineage be able to resist these allegations in the eyes of colonial society?

The non-status Indigenous experience has one truth vital to true reconciliation: there are many more Indigenous persons on Turtle Island than the colonizer claims. Recognizing this would unleash the true power of Indigenous communities upon the colonizer’s and its band councils’ political systems.

To truly overcome the genocidal legacy of the Indian Act, non-status Indigenous persons’ heritage should be recognized and support systems should be put in place by Indigenous communities to help them reintegrate. The colonizer should front the cost of these support systems. This should include better services to help gather documentation to prove lineage and navigate the process to regain status and band membership. Even better, the Indian Act and the blood quantum system should be abolished and replaced with something that upholds the traditional ways of Indigenous identity validation. Any amount of Indigenous heritage should be recognized.

Ko’kho:wa Kó:wa is a student at the University of Toronto. They have requested to leave their program and year of study anonymous for safety reasons.

Comment March 18, 2024
We must consider the RCMP’s sinister origins



to grips

with Canada’s police system, we must frst understand its history

Content warning: This article contains descriptions of systemic violence against Indigenous Peoples, especially against Red River Métis, and mentions the residential school system.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are the nation’s federal police force and the supposed primary guardians of peace and security in Canada. However, many Canadians might not know about the RCMP’s more sinister origins: that they were established out of the pacifcation, and attempted extermination of the Indigenous people of the Red River Settlement in 1870.

Canada’s establishment of the RCMP highlights the role policing plays in nation-building and domination through extermination, killing, and the pacifcation of a certain ‘other.’ The RCMP also challenges the moral authority we have projected onto the police, daring us to hold them accountable.

Where it all started

In a conversation with journalist Arshy Mann, Indigenous rights lawyer Jean Teillet noted the gaps in Canada’s recollection of the transfer of jurisdictional authority from the Red River Métis to the Canadian Confederation in 1870. The French and Catholic Métis who occupied what is now Winnipeg, Manitoba, agreed to enter the confederation upon federal promises of protection for the rights of Francophones and Catholics, and of a million hectares of land.

In 1870, during the Red River Resistance and the birth of Manitoba, a group of Métis led by Louis Riel denied the confederation physical entry into their land after Canada bought it from the Hudson’s Bay Company without consultation or consent from them. The resistors turned the Confederation’s men away at gun-

point, formed their own provincial government as a foil to the federal government, and seized Fort Garry as a show of resolve.

According to The Queen’s Own Rifes of Canada Regimental Museum and Archive, the federal government sent expeditionary forces to quell the resistance, and law and order were “rapidly restored.” When Colonel Garnet S. Wolseley and his forces came to put down the rebellion for good, Riel and his associates fed over the US border. Prior to the 1960s and Canadians’ increased skepticism about popular Canadian history, the story seemed to wrap up neatly in a classic case of ‘good guy beats bad guy and bad guy fees,’ because that’s what ‘bad guys’ do.

Canada’s collective memory conveniently forgot that two thirds of the 1,200 men sent to tame the Red River Resistance were members of a Protestant supremacist secret society called The Grand Orange Lodge of British America — of which then prime minister John A. MacDonald was a member.

struction a “reign of terror.” Once the expeditionary forces concluded their engagement — after thousands of people fed the prairies, making room for incoming white settlers — MacDonald transformed this rag-tag bundle of ‘Canadian heroes’ into the country’s frst police force: the North West Mounted Police, which operated as a paramilitary, or illegitimate national army, and later became the RCMP.

Canada’s police today

When systems of injustice do not die, they transmute.

When systems of injustice do not die, they transmute. This is how I believe the RCMP still manages to function as a militarized unit for the enforcement of settler colonialism and its legacies today. The institution shifts shape and takes on newer skins and faces under which histories and patterns of destruction may be hidden for when Canada has use for them later.

perhaps those cadets take pride in it. Perhaps they too feel a moral pressure to recreate the same spectacles of the dispossessed.

We have seen patterns of colonial paramilitarism repeat themselves through Canada’s police force. During the great starvation of the late 1870s as a result of the overhunting of buffaloes by white settlers, the police administered the pass system that controlled the movement of Indigenous persons through reserves, and kept them dependent on government food rations. The mounties forcibly took children from their families and brought them to residential schools. Several initial fgureheads of the police force, men like John Ingram, Francis Cornish, and Colonel S. P. Jarvis, were openly active or complicit in the beating, killing, rape, and terrorization of Indigenous Peoples.

As of November 2022, the RCMP had spent more than $25 million on policing Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia. We remember the arrest of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam in March 2020, where he was jump-tackled, punched in the head, and put in a chokehold without warning — over an expired license plate.

The Orange Lodge was a prominent and powerful political force in the country and its goal was to transform Canada into an Englishspeaking Protestant refuge within the vast heathen wilderness of British North America. This meant that the culture of Canada’s other presences — Indigenous Nations, the French, and the Catholics, all of which the Red River Métis identifed with — had to be expunged.

And so, Canada’s expeditionary forces unleashed destruction. They murdered, raped, pillaged and destroyed so much so that the New York Times called their two years of de-

Canada’s approach to Truth and Reconciliation is performative, not proactive
The Trudeau government has failed to deliver on promises it made prior to the 2015 elections

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) delivered 94 Calls to Action to the Canadian government in order to further reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous Peoples. The TRC was established as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which aimed to advance the reconciliation process between the Government of Canada and Indigenous Peoples who were once forcibly enrolled in residential schools in Canada.

The Calls to Action provide a list of deliverables to the Canadian government, aimed at helping to address the ongoing impacts of residential schools on survivors and their families through two broad realms of policy development and change-making: “Legacy” and “Reconciliation.” While the former focuses on redressing the generational scars the residential school system caused, the latter included policies to better the relationships between the federal and provincial governments of Canada and Indigenous Nations.

The TRC’s comprehensive framework ensured that the Calls to Action were advised by the testimonies of survivors and discussions by the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit representatives, the federal government, and church bodies. The TRC’s recommendations were initially delivered to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in June 2015, but he refused to commit to any of the Calls to Action in Parliament, stating that his government would instead wait for a “full report.” Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, on the other hand, ofered

“unwavering support” to the TRC’s fndings and its suggestions.

Later that year, Trudeau was elected prime minister and began the process of implementing the Calls to Action, but nearly a decade later, he has failed to deliver much of what was promised. Although the Liberal Party claimed in December 2023 that its government has completely or partially fulflled nearly 85 per cent of all the Calls to Action involving the federal government, independent investigative bodies have found this claim to be void and dubious.

Indigenous Watchdog, a non-proft organization committed to monitoring and tracking the progress of reconciliation eforts, including the Calls to Action, says that the federal government has completed or started no more than 66 per cent of the Calls to Action that it is responsible for. The organization has also pointed out that reports by CBC and the Yellowhead Institute, an Indigenous-led research and education centre, also corroborate many of its fndings and show that the government’s claims of completed deliverables are overstated.

In fact, the Yellowhead Institute states in its 2023 Status Update on Reconciliation that, at the government’s current rate, it will take until 2081 for all of the TRC’s recommendations to be actualized. Although the process of reconciliation cannot be rushed, the institute’s timeline of completion highlights the government’s apathetic attitude toward the TRC’s fndings — with none of the calls being completed last year.

The Yellowhead Institute and Indigenous Watchdog reports highlight the government’s misplaced motivations. The government has time and again

Today, the RCMP training academy is located at the site where Louis Riel was hanged for treason in 1885. As part of their education, children from the nearby Regina Indian Industrial Residential School were made to watch. Strands from the rope that is believed to have been used to hang Louis Riel are now displayed at the RCMP Heritage Centre museum in Regina, Saskatchewan, where visitors come to view the “many proud chapters in the RCMP story, and others that are intensely painful.”

I wonder what that rope and those training grounds might mean to a young cadet who is eager to serve their country. The symbolic display of that hanging rope might beckon to a standard that justice must aspire to and adhere to. If they know what happened there,

used the TRC and the Calls to Action as concrete proof of their duty toward addressing Canada’s injustices against Indigenous Peoples. However, I believe that Trudeau’s failure to act upon or address the Calls to Action on an annual and transparent basis is a testament to the fact that the government’s dedication is largely performative.

The Calls to Action as they exist aren’t void of criticism either, as they seemingly fail to recognize colonialism as an ongoing facet of government policy and posit residential schools as the only issue to reconcile. Glen Sean Coulthard pointed out in his book, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, that the TRC’s recommendations as an orientation to reconciliation still remain colonial as they “remai[n] structurally committed to the dispossession of Indigenous [P]eoples of [their] lands and self-determining authority.” I see the government’s failure to respond to these critiques as further evidence of a lack of institutional dedication in pursuit of reconciliation.

Additionally, much like how the Harper government’s and the Trudeau opposition’s views on the Calls to Action in 2015 difered, it’ll be an interesting change of opinions when Trudeau fnally makes way for the next prime minister — who, if polls such as the Abacus Data’s February 2024 survey are to be trusted, will be none other than the Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre. Although

We have witnessed the RCMP deploy military-style units against unarmed protestors and carry out violent assaults and arrests against Indigenous women. That 30 per cent of Canada’s prisoners are Indigenous people signals deep and consistent errors in policing.

To understand Canada’s police system, we must frst reckon with its history. Unfortunately, there’s not much there that stirs hope for the people they’ve been charged to protect.

Divine Angubua is a third-year student at UTM studying history, political science, and creative writing. He is the editor-in-chief of With Cafeine and Careful Thought and a staf writer at The Medium. He is the associate comment editor of The Varsity.

Poilievre has expressed his party’s support toward reconciliation, he is yet to elaborate on his specifc thoughts on the Calls to Action.

My underlying expectation for the future of the Calls to Action isn’t that the next prime minister satisfes the calls at a faster per annum rate than their predecessor, but rather my concerns are toward the framework that the next prime minister will deem most efcient in pursuit of reconciliation.

As far as policymaking goes, the Calls to Action, although fawed, provide a scafolding which the government could improve upon. Even if the next prime minister put faith in an entirely diferent framework, I believe it would still mean progress at a similar rate — if any.

Reconciliation is an ongoing process and one that cannot be gauged by the completion of 94 deliverables. However, it is a process that demands the government to be actively involved, and the current situation with the Calls to Action paints a diferent picture: one that highlights the ambivalence of the Canadian government and their standing as an institution that believes more in talking than doing.

Nidhil Vohra is a fourth-year student at St. Michael’s College studying peace, confict and justice and political science. He is an International Afairs columnist for The Varsity’s Comment section 8 THE VARSITY COMMENT

Learning Indigenous languages must be part of the Truth and Reconciliation process

Knowledge of language comes from knowledge of history, politics, and culture

In 2021, Statistics Canada reported that only 6,000 non-Indigenous people in Canada spoke an Indigenous language fuently. That pales in comparison to Aotearoa — the Māori-language name for New Zealand — where nearly 60,000 Pākehā (non-Māori people) could speak Te Reo Māori as of 2021 — nine times the number in Canada who spoke an Indigenous language, despite Aotearoa having a population over seven times smaller.

Of course, there are key diferences between the two countries. In contrast to Canada’s over 70 Indigenous languages, Aotearoa has only one currently spoken by native speakers, with previously dormant ta rē Moriori currently being revived in the Chatham Islands. Additionally, Aotearoa has a proportionally larger Indigenous population — 17 per cent versus Canada’s fve — and has been ofcially bilingual since 1987. The 1840 Te Tiriti, or the Treaty of Waitangi, also holds an important role as the country’s founding document, and has guaranteed the ofcial state recognition of Māori language and culture, as an ofcially adopted biculturalism, since its conception.

In other words, Pākehā have had far greater cultural and national reasons to learn Māori than non-Indigenous Canadians have had to learn Cree, Ojibwe, or Inuit languages. But could, or rather should, that change?

In recent years, a majority of Canadians have come to the opinion that a third founding group of Canada, besides the British and the French, exists: Indigenous populations. Indeed, the Canadian government’s own website lists the founding peoples as Aboriginal, French, and English. Suppose countries recall their own national stories in the name of national unity and focus on contemporary issues and forging the future. In that case, it is welcome, even if overdue, that Indigenous contributions to Canadian society — as well as Canada’s history of cultural genocide, which the Canadian government has recognized — are being brought to the forefront.

However, this refocusing brings about linguistic issues. Canada ofcially became bilingual in 1969, acknowledging one of its ‘founding people’ as part of an attempt to stem growing francophone political discontent. Given the previously prominent standing of Indigenous people in society and the growing political imperative to incorporate these voices, how exactly do the various layers of government and society incorporate Indigenous languages?

With over 70 Indigenous languages currently spoken across the country, I believe it is possible to grant constitutional protection to these languages without having to expand ofcial bilingualism beyond English and French.

Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have four and 11 ofcial languages, respectively, and the provinces and their municipalities may have better scope for recognizing particular Indigenous tongues.

In lieu of such impracticalities, it has been suggested that other institutions like universities demonstrate their commitment to Truth and Reconciliation by ofering Indigenous language courses. These can be vital for preserving and revitalizing languages for Indigenous students, and the U of T currently ofers introductory and 300-level classes in the Ojibwe language Anishinaabemowin and the Mohawk language Kanien’kéha. This academic year, a combined 21 students are taking the Anishinaabemowin classes and 13 students are taking the Kanien’kéha classes.

But should these courses be encouraged, or even mandated, for non-Indigenous students?

After all, the campus operates on a mix of both land ceded by misleading treaties broken by the government as well as unceded territory. I believe we should welcome any initiatives, classes, and outreach programs that increase awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures.

However, simply learning a language, in and of itself, will not contribute much towards that process, any more than learning French from a textbook would imbue the pupil with a Gallic spirit. Ultimately, university resources and students’ time are scarce.

The priority, frst and foremost, for language lessons should surely be to empower Indigenous students to learn their inherited language and ensure an enriched and evolving culture.

Beyond that, I want the student body as a whole to be permeated with a richer knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the history and contemporary experience of First Nations in and around Toronto. But simply providing more language courses does not seem to be the most efcient way to achieve that goal.

Language classes can and should be ofered to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike, but it should form part of a wider package of educational opportunities that incorporates histories and cultures from the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River — just some of the First Nations whose traditional territory overlaps with what is now Toronto. These can be taught in the context of the larger and ongoing story of colonization on Turtle Island, but students should have the ability to engage, connect, and appreciate local Indigenous understandings of the specifc territory on which U of T students learn and live.

As an international student, it is not for me to say what precisely should be prioritized for education.

Ofcial university bodies, student societies, as well as First Nations located in and around Toronto all have a role to play in policy formulation — that is, what are the most important aspects of Indigenous cultures, histories, politics, societies, and general modes of thinking about life that students must understand, and how they should be imparted onto the student body at large.

But the fact of the matter is that language learning becomes more difcult with age. If, as a society, we are serious about increasing uptake among the general population, then the focus should be on early learning, in concert with wider cultural education.

Language learning plays an important role in cultural education as part of a wider, more holistic, more impactful process of learning as part of the ongoing process of Truth and Reconciliation. A knowledge of history, interaction with the landscape, and everything that comes under the catch-all term ‘culture’ would be far better starting points for a new university student.

Thomas Law is a frst-year graduate student at the Munk School of Global Afairs and Public Policy. He is The Varsity’s Labour Correspondent and a senior editor of the Eurasiatique journal.

Op-Ed: It’s time for the University Pension Plan to ‘break UPP’ with their bad investments

U of T committed to divestment in 2019. The University Pension Plan must do the same

It is impossible to justify investing in companies that kill people. It is especially impossible for U of T, an institution which prides itself on tackling global challenges and creating a more just and sustainable future, to justify lending its money to corporations that perpetuate violence and harm against people and communities.

Relentless organizing by Climate Justice UofT and other student and faculty groups resulted in U of T committing to divestment from fossil fuel companies in 2021. Last academic year, Climate Justice UofT successfully pressured all three federated colleges to do the same. U of T, however, still has a lot to be ashamed about.

The University Pension Plan (UPP) is near the top of the list. The UPP is a pension manager representing over 39,000 faculty and staf across U of T, the University of Guelph, Queen’s University, and Trent University. U of T joined the pension plan in 2021 and is the largest stakeholder institution.

On February 14, Climate Justice UofT launched a campaign demanding that the UPP immediately divest its $10.8 billion portfolio from the fossil fuel industry and companies.

Despite the UPP’s recog nition in its Climate Ac tion Plan that climate change “presents a systematic and mate rial risk to the ecologi cal, societal, and f nancial stability of the economy as a whole,” the pension manager continues to invest in the fossil fuels that are fuelling the climate crisis.

As of December 31, 2022, the UPP reported between $190 million and $285 million of investments in the fossil fuel industry, including BP, Chevron, Enbridge, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Petroleum, and Shell. Not only are these investments at complete odds with the UPP’s commitments to sustainability, but it is also fscally and morally irresponsible to invest in a harmful industry that we all know we must abandon.

Divest, Sanctions Coalition’s list of “Israeli products and products produced by corporations profting from the occupation” for consumers to boycott — including weapons manufacturers.

What economic gain could possibly justify continued investment in companies complicit in genocide? How could anyone justify funding companies implicated in the killing of over 29,000 Palestinians in

Horrifcally, the UPP is also invested in companies such as Amazon and Starbucks that are implicated in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. As of December 31, 2022, the UPP reported investments in at least 12 companies on the Canadian Boycott,

Further, these investments are in clear violation of the UPP’s self-proclaimed commitment to sustainability. The link between the genocide and the climate crisis is glaringly obvious: on October 30, 2023, the Israeli government approved 12 gas exploration licenses to six fossil fuel companies of the coast of Gaza, including BP — in which UPP holds between fve million dollars and $10 million in shares. Chevron, in which the UPP holds between $10 million and $25 million in shares, extracts gas illegally claimed by Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean. This extractivism implicates Chevron in Israel’s practice of depriving Palestinians of their right to sovereignty over their natural resources. The UPP, and particularly their President and CEO, Barbara Zvan, work hard to cover their dirty investments with obvious greenwashing. They have several vague commitments to achieving net zero carbon emissions that do not actually stop them from investing in harmful

companies. They use illegitimate “engagement” tactics, claiming that divesting from fossil fuel companies passes asset ownership over to “someone who might care less about their realworld impacts.” However, there is no evidence that UPP’s ownership and engagement of oil and gas companies has led to any meaningful emissions reductions or science-based climate plans.

Pension funds have been divested before. Many public pension funds divested from South Africa in the 1980s. Recently, New York City moved to divest its pension funds from fossil fuels. According to new research from the University of Waterloo in partnership with, US public pension funds could be $21 billion richer today if they had divested from fossil fuels 10 years ago. The Ontario Health Workers are pushing their pension fund to divest.

It is time for the UPP to do the same.

So get involved in our campaign. Sign our open letter to the UPP demanding they divest immediately. Get involved with Climate Justice UofT or Divestment and Beyond, the faculty group organizing around UPP divestment. We got U of T to divest. We got the federated colleges to divest. And we will get the UPP to divest too.

Alice Ferguson-O’Brien is a second-year student at Trinity College studying cognitive science and philosophy. Bronwen Foulds is a third-year student at Victoria College studying English and anthropology. Lilah Williamson is a second-year student at Trinity College studying economics and international relations. Ferguson-O’Brien, Foulds, and Williamson are members of the Divest Campaign within Climate Justice UofT. MARCH 18, 2024 9
Language classes should be o ered to students, in part of historical and cultural education. YUHUAN XIE/THEVARSITY

On a sunny September afternoon in 2013, in a meadow 45 kilometres northwest of Toronto, 1,760 Huron-Wendat Ancestors were reburied after spending decades in crumbling boxes across U of T’s campuses. Many Huron-Wendat descendants travelled from Wendake — the Huron-Wendat nation outside of Québec City — to Toronto to attend the reburial, including the Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation, Konrad Sioui. The reburial gave the HuronWendat Nation, and descendants coming from the Wyandot Nation and other First Nations, a chance to pay tribute in the highest regard to their Ancestors.

On September 13, 2013, at the Great Hall in Hart House, archaeologists and descendants of these Ancestors gathered to commemorate the rematriation and the partnership established between U of T and the Huron-Wendat Nation.

Rematriation — as opposed to repatriation — centres on Indigenous women and more accurately refects the matriarchal society of the Huron-Wendat. It refers to Indigenous womenled work seeking to restore the relationship between Indigenous Peoples, their ancestral lands, and their heritage. It was a term suggested by Professor Robin Gray, a professor of sociology at U of T Mississauga who is Ts’msyen from Lax Kw’alaams, Mikisew Cree from Fort Chipewyan, and does research specifcally on the topic.

The next day, on September 14, the Huron-Wendat descendants travelled to the Thonnakona Ossuary outside of Toronto, where they carried their Ancestors to the burial site in beaver pelts. An attendee explained to the Ancestors’ remains what was happening during the ceremony.

Mélanie Vincent is Huron-Wendat from the Huron-Wendat Nation. She consulted with the Council of the Huron-Wendat Nation — the political and administrative organization that governs the Huron-Wendat Nation — during the rematriation process in 2013, and led the team that organized the reburial ceremony. She explained in an interview with The Varsity that the Huron-Wendat Nation have a diferent view of their Ancestors than settler Canadians: “Their spirit still lives. When our Ancestors buried their people, they would talk to them. “The spirit of the Ancestors lives in their remains, so if you excavate them, you’re disturbing them, [you’re disturbing] their spirit.”

The site of the reburial is owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT), a provincial organization that works to preserve Ontario’s heritage. The site and the remains will be protected and kept as a safe resting place for the Ancestors in perpetuity.

This reburial at Thonnakona Ossuary of the remains of Wendat Ancestors from 12 sites across southern Ontario was a culmination of years of collaboration between U of T and the Huron-Wendat Nation. These Ancestors’ remains were initially excavated from their resting places by archeologists at the U of T between the 1940s and the

e buried history of U of T’s

A 2013 reburial with the Huron-Wendat Nation set a precedent

1970s and used for study and research in the anthropology department before they were placed in cardboard boxes to collect dust until the next archeologist came along to use them.

Interviews with professors in U of T’s anthropology department and people who headed the rematriation process reveal that, in the last 50 years, U of T and the archeology community in Toronto have had to face a reckoning with questions of ownership and access regarding ancestral remains. U of T’s rematriation eforts with the Huron-Wendat came on the heels of decades of decentralized disorganization in professors’ storage of human and animal remains. Rematriation raised the question of how institutions conduct research on the human remains they’ve collected — and if they had the right to do so in the frst place.

“In fact, I think if you were to take an anonymous poll of archaeologists today, I’m not sure all archaeologists working in Canada would agree that what they excavate belongs to the descendants.”

From the Wyandot Confederation to excavation

Before the mid-1600s, Ancestors of the Huron-Wendat Nation lived across a vast territory including much of modern-day southern Ontario. Between 1634 and 1650, the Wyandot Confederation — a confederacy of First Nations groups that included Huron-Wendat Ancestors — split apart because of tensions between groups in the confederacy, European settlers, and other groups in the region.

At the same time, the arrival of the Europeans brought disease, which signifcantly reduced the Huron-Wendat population. The Wendake website estimates that, in 1634, there were 20,000 to 30,000 Huron; just 16 years later, in 1650, the population had

been reduced to just a few hundred people. As a result, HuronWendat Ancestors left southern Ontario.

Today, many descendants of the Huron-Wendat live in Wendake, Québec, situated in the St. Lawrence River area just north of Québec City — an area in which some Huron Ancestors had previously lived, and where the Huron-Wendat Ancestors returned after leaving southern Ontario. Wendake is the only nation of the Huron-Wendat in Canada.

Still, other descendants of the Huron-Wendat are scattered across many areas in the Great Lakes region. Some are now a part of the Iroquois Confederation. Others joined the Tionontaté and moved west; they became the Wyandot Nation who currently live in the midwest of the United States.

In August 2005, construction workers who were expanding Teston Road in Vaughan uncovered the remains of at least 15 people. This uncovered burial site, referred to by archaeologists in Ontario as the One Teston Road Ossuary, began a direct relationship between the Huron-Wendat and archeologists.

For many years, the Huron-Wendat Nation did not represent their Ancestors at excavations in southern Ontario even though taking care of their Ancestors is very important to them. Since the lands of the Huron-Wendat Nation are situated so far from southern Ontario, they did not have the infrastructure in place to represent their Nation so far from home.

Before the uncovering of One Teston Road, the Six Nations of the Grand River — a First Nation situated in southwestern Ontario that includes all six Haudenosaunee nations — would typically stand in for the Huron-Wendat Nation in discussions when remains were uncovered. Today, however, after the uncovering of One Teston Road sparked direct involvement between archeologists in southern Ontario and the Huron-Wendat Nation, the Nation now has people whose job it is to represent the community when ossuaries are uncovered by chance, such as during construction.

Ronald Williamson, founder of Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI) — an archeological frm based in Ontario that provides consulting services to a variety of clients — told The Varsity in an interview that One Teston Road was the frst time that his frm worked directly with the Huron-Wendat Nation to build a systemic relationship between the Nation and ASI, and with archeology in southern Ontario in general.

Throughout 2006, ASI and the Huron-Wendat Nation explored how ossuaries located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, like One Teston Road, were resting places for Huron-Wendat Ancestors. An ossuary is a resting place for human remains, and for the HuronWendat, ossuaries are pits in the ground. According to Williamson, the Huron-Wendat practice of creating ossuaries with commingled remains — many people buried together at the same site — is distinct among groups in the region, so archaeologists at ASI could identify many of these sites as ancestral to the descendants who live in Wendake, Québec, today.


anthropological excavations

precedent for acknowledging rights over ancestral remains

Vincent explained that Huron-Wendat Ancestors would bury their dead in the same pit every few years as they moved from village to village. Before they moved, they would place the dead in a pit in an ossuary fashion: alongside artifacts and other heritage. This specifc process of burial is why there are so many Huron-Wendat burial sites across southern Ontario today.

The discovery of this connection between Wendat Ancestors and the ossuaries, Williamson told The Varsity, led to the question: “Where are all the remains from all the ossuaries that have been excavated previously?”

Excavation before regulation

When the One Teston Road Ossuary was uncovered, provincial regulation laid out a standard procedure requiring anyone who came across a burial to leave it in place and designate it as a cemetery in perpetuity — but this wasn’t always the case.

Before 1975, which is when the province passed the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA), Ontario had no system to regulate the excavation of human remains. Over decades, U of T built up a collection of the remains of thousands of people, as U of T archaeologists and anthropologists excavated and kept bones to hold in their departments for research. These bones came from First Nations Ancestors and early European settlers.

Pfefer explained to The Varsity that as a research university, she believes that U of T has historically seemed to think of collecting and conducting research on ancestral bones as its responsibility. The OHA later provided a path for sites across Ontario that contained culturally signifcant material to be explicitly designated and protected.

Before the rematriation eforts, the department had been collecting remains and other collections for decades. U of T established its anthropology department in 1936, and archeologists at U of T have excavated sites in Southern Ontario since the 1940s. Between 1946 and 1970, U of T’s anthropology department excavated numerous archeological sites. Many included human remains, including remains of Indigenous groups’ Ancestors. U of T researchers extracted everything they excavated from these sites, and U of T still holds most of the excavations in its collections.

During the rematriation process, the ASI determined that 12 of these sites were ancestral Wendat sites. University researchers had excavated 11 of these sites; the OHT excavated the 12th, but the university held everything from the site in trust.

For a long time, U of T’s storage of the excavated collections was internally disorganized. Everyone at the university kept track of their collections and excavations in their own way, meaning there was no centralized authority at U of T determining how human remains were to be stored. There were also no electronic records of these excavations, as many of the excavations predate the internet.

For instance: for years, UTSC anthropology professor emerita Martha Latta stored 280 boxes containing pieces of stone tools, pots, and animal remains from both First Nations and early colonial sites in Ontario dating

back to 600 years ago in a basement tunnel at the university’s Scarborough campus. In April 2003, they found themselves on a truck headed to a dump in Michigan.

University ofcials at UTSC had ordered the removal of the boxes — which were only labelled with the site and year of excavation of the objects inside, and no other details of their contents — due to fre and safety reasons. Professor Latta alleges that the news of the tunnel’s clearance never reached her and the boxes were promptly loaded and shipped across the border. Professor Latta discovered the boxes were missing nearly a month later when she went to the tunnel to move some more things.

At the time, UTSC’s then-principal Paul Thompson told The Globe and Mail that all university department heads were informed of the removal, and that he still wanted to fnd out what happened to keep the information from reaching Latta.

However, at this point, institutions in Ontario had already begun to explore the process of repatriating remains in their possession following the start of requests from First Nations groups. In 1999, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) repatriated Huron-Wendat Ancestors which had been removed from their original burial place 52 years back to their original burial place at the Ossossané Ossuary in Simcoe County. The Huron-Wendat Nation worked with the ROM through a collaborative efort to repatriate their Ancestors. This set up a precedent of the Huron-Wendat Nation working collaboratively with academic authorities to achieve rematriation.

“The spirit of the Ancestors lives in their remains, so if you excavate them, you’re disturbing them, [you’re disturbing] their spirit.”

Discussions that led to rematriation

In an interview with The Varsity, Vincent explained the emotional nature of the turbulent history over rights to Ancestral remains. “Would you excavate [a family member] for just being studied for science…? That would be unacceptable, like to anyone. But it was acceptable back then.”

U of T received its frst ofcial rematriation request for objects and remains from a specifc archeological site in the 1990s. In 1999, the Graduate Department of Anthropology created its Repatriation Policy, which outlined how repatriation requests were to be handled and how to work with descendant communities and transfer

objects and remains of signifcant cultural importance. Also in 1999, the department created a collections use policy, which outlined how the university would handle the use of ‘collections’ of artifacts and remains that the university holds.

One crucial aspect of this latter policy was that remains from First Nations sites were no longer allowed to be used in undergraduate teaching or research. In an interview with The Varsity, Professor Susan Pfeifer — who is a professor emerita in U of T’s anthropology department — recalled the early discussions between the university and descendant groups. “There were certain Indigenous voices who were quite angry with the university. And indeed, not just the university, but with all sorts of institutions that claimed authority over their heritage.”

Throughout these discussions, Pfefer said, it was essential to rebuild the relationship between the university and descendant groups to create a balanced partnership. Pfefer and others at the university who were involved in the discussions had to relearn how to talk in ways that didn’t automatically assume their authority. “Academics can use words that make the listener feel like there’s a power imbalance,” she pointed out.

The partnership between U of T and the Huron-Wendat Nation helped to spearhead an ongoing efort for First Nations and institutions to work collaboratively toward a respectful rematriation process.

Vincent told The Varsity that respect for the Ancestors was integral to the partnership established between the Huron-Wendat Nation Council and U of T. She said “the fact that the university was really willing to do the right thing… and acknowledge that it was wrong to keep Ancestors,” allowed the university and the Council to build a partnership of mutual respect.

Vincent said the rematriation refects a stark change in the way U of T treats the remains of Huron-Wendat Ancestors. “50 years ago they would totally ignore us, and archaeologists would just excavate and study our Ancestors because it was a science interest, regardless of the emotional link or relationship that we have with our Ancestors. It’s like family.”

After many years of discussion, Pfefer said the Anthropology Department Repatriation committee — a group of U of T faculty and graduate students who worked with the Huron-Wendat Nation — concluded that the remains belonged to Huron-Wendat descendants. This decision was happening in a period when archeologists were fundamentally changing how they viewed ownership of remains found in excavations.

Pfeifer refected on the shift in this view throughout her career; in the early days of her career, legislation in Ontario clearly stated that what remained excavated from an Ontario archeological site belonged to the people of Ontario, like how artifacts are made publically available in museums. The idea that the remains might belong to the descendants of the people who were buried was a foreign concept.

“In fact, I think if you were to take an anonymous poll of archaeologists today, I’m not sure all archaeologists working in Canada would agree that what they excavate belongs to the descendants. I think there’s still a strong feeling that the collective population has a right to the heritage of the country. It’s a tricky, complicated topic.” Pfeifer said.

Eventually, after years of discussion, representatives of U of T and the Huron-Wendat Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 29, 2011, in Wendake. The MoU is an agreement between U of T and the Huron-Wendat Nation that allowed for the transfer of remains to the descendants and laid out future cooperation between U of T and the Huron-Wendat Nation.

is article will be published in two parts. Read the second part in our next issue, or online now at this QR code.

Arts & Culture

March 18, 2024

A letter to my children’s teachers: Refections from an Indigenous mother

Building bridges through the work and opportunity of Reconciliation

I write this letter for the teachers of my two boys, Nico and Ronan, and for teachers past, present, and future.

I frst want to situate myself in the context of this letter: I am your colleague, of sorts. As a former teacher who can sympathize with the work of educating future generations, I can see your eforts that often go unnoticed. I can empathize with returning home to your own children with little to no energy left because of all the love you poured into other peoples’ children all day. I can empathize with sitting in your living room at the end of the school day, still thinking about the students in your classroom — wondering if they are okay, if they are fed, and if they are loved.

I have an incredible amount of respect for anyone who enters the profession of teaching. This letter comes from a place of love and care, not only for the feld of teaching itself but also for yourselves, as my colleagues.

I am a Mohawk and Anishinaabe mother and doctoral student in the Social Justice Education department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at U of T. I am a student-parent, and passionate about building bridges through the work and opportunity of Reconciliation. My experiences with the education system may not have been the same as yours, so I write to you in the spirit of reconciliation so we may work together to foster a learning environment that values my children’s creativity, inherent gifts, and interests.

Dear Teacher, Please be wary of making my children spokespeople. My children cannot possibly speak for over 630 First Nations communities in Canada, the Métis, and Inuit. Asking them to be the ‘Indigenous voice’ is asking them to pan-Indigenize — to view all Indigenous peoples as the same. It is my hope that, as teachers, you will take the time to learn about the diversity across Indigenous nations and communities and localize your learning as well. As a child, I felt the responsibility and weight of representation placed upon me, and I carry it to this day. This is not a weight I wish my children to have, and I look to you to support me in this.

Dear Teacher, Our people exist outside of the construct of

colonialism. Our people exist outside of trauma. Our people exist outside of displacement and dispossession. I beg of you, as much as you may teach about atrocities, colonial disruption, and ongoing violence, please teach my children and their peers the beauty of our people, so they may develop strength-based narratives of their ancestors and see the strength they also possess. I think about my ancestors taking steps on the same soil as me, and young children playing in the same grasses as my son. I think about the genius of our people. Our ways of knowing. Our systems of education. Our forms of government. Our medicines. Most importantly, I think about the fact that we are still here. Please support them in remembering the teachers that sit outside the walls of institutions: our Elders, our


U of T’s Art Museum, located in King’s College Circle, is now showing the work of Caroline Monnet, a prominent Anishnaabe and French multidisciplinary artist. “Pizandawatc/The One Who Listens/Celui qui écoute” is her frst solo exhibit in Toronto. It honours her great-grandmother, Mani Pizandawatc, who was the frst in Monnet’s family to have her territory divided into reserves.

According to Monnet, Pizandawatc is derived from her maternal family’s traditional name before religious afliates changed surnames in their First Nation reserve of Kitigan Zibi — an assimilation act by the Canadian government that used forced European renaming to disrupt Indigenous naming practices.

Mona Filip, the exhibition’s curator, shared that Monnet’s works detail the profound relationship between the resources her ancestors used to create and symbolize their culture, and modern ways of conveying Indigenous culture. Her work interrogates the way natural resources like wood are used today for mass production compared to before colonial disruption.

According to Filip, Monnet wanted this exhibit to be a “love letter to the land.” Her work goes beyond reproducing traditional motifs and mediums such as illustrations or paintings; instead, she develops them into the present and creates new motifs that sometimes remind viewers of QR codes, computer circuitry, and other modern technology. In doing so, Monnet creates continuity and explores how Indigenous culture manifests in the contemporary world.

Entering the Art Museum as a viewer, Monnet’s pieces captivate you with materials so familiar, yet reinvented: Monnet’s artistic prowess shines through a variety of mediums, including wood sculptures, textile creations, masonry, metalwork, immersive video experiences, and reworking of industrial materials. For example, Monnet recorded Anishinaabemowin phrases into layered native and industrial wood to reclaim the language and its connection to the land. Monnet breathes life into the wood, evoking a sense of deep respect for her Indigenous heritage while embracing a vision of resilience and storytelling.

Monnet’s collaborative piece “Nous sommes le chemin que parcourons/ We are the path we travel” features the handiwork of embroidery artist Amélie Dionoski. The quote is from Serge Bouchard, and the frame was created by Martin Schop’s Encadrement. This collaborative piece was inspired by a tapestry Monnet previously created for an exhibition at La Galerie du NouvelOntario that celebrates the same geometric and Indigenous motifs.

The materials used in Monnet’s pieces are central to lifestyle and traditional craftsmanship within Anishinaabe communities and cultures. Monnet’s work highlights how wood as a resource was readily available before colonial exploitation. It features bronze as the frst copper-based alloy the Anishinaabeg used.

The materials not only pay homage to Indigenous traditions of craftsmanship but also serve as a metaphor for Indigenous artisans’ resilience and endurance. “Ikwe origami (Portage de la Femme)” is made out of maple wood and is carved to represent the sound waves of Anishinaabemowin

knowledge keepers. While it is not recorded in a textbook, their knowledge is valuable and sacred, and our time with them is sacred as well.

Dear Teacher, I ask that you see competence in my children. Their ways of knowing may look diferent from your own and may look diferent from a majority of their classmates. But they are not broken, and they are not in need of saving. Far too often in education, certain ways of knowing are privileged while others are rendered inferior.

What happens to those whose traditions, customs, and ways of knowing do not align with ‘dominant’ knowledge? What happens when one’s learning style is not recognized, included, or spoken to, and you are expected to conform to the norm? Then, students are labelled as ‘atrisk.’

At-risk of what exactly? What is the standard by which we are comparing a child’s quality of life? Which standard are we comparing their understanding to? When using the label of ‘at-risk,’ we suggest that the error lies in the student — in their upbringing, in their home life — while ignoring various other factors, including those that are historical, social, economic, and political. My children are whole beings.

Lastly, I am here. I am here, and I have a deep longing to partner with you. I am my children’s frst teacher, but you are also their teacher, I value your knowledge as a professional, and I appeal to your humanity. A quote that has stuck with me from my days at teachers’ college is that, as teachers, “People are entrusting you with their kids. There is no higher honour.” Nia:wen (Thank you) for the work you do. I see you. I appreciate you. I value you.

With a good mind,

voices. By solidifying language into wood, Monnet highlights the important relationship between the land and Elders, as its knowledge keepers, that remains even after cultural genocide.

Monnet’s revitalization of woodworking and metalworking shows how traditional Indigenous identity and craft can re-emerge in new ways. The patterns Monnet creates draw inspiration from the Anishnaabe art form of birchbark biting. Monnet’s piece “Canopy” refects her continued examination of industrial construction supplies. “Canopy” is made of asphalt shingles and oriented strand board with ornamental perforations throughout creating a pattern that holds connections that will remain indefnitely. She reenvisions how connections in the community are made and the value they hold, and she makes permanent a constellation of these relationships she has made which makes viewers refect on how their own circles emerge.

Her textile works incorporate traditional Anishnaabe motifs and symbols reimagined through a modern lens, such as her tapestry work “Akwìnowag (Flock)”: strands of plastic Tyvek sheets are sewn individually to form the eye of a tornado. Monnet shares that she usually starts creating these designs with squares, to create a maze of diferent patterns.

Another piece, “Voice Gone Cannot Speak,” confronts the loss of Indigenous languages due to colonialism. Through bold colours, intricate patterns, and meticulous attention to detail, Monnet’s textile creations ofer a sense of cultural pride and mourn what was lost. Her other textile works hold phrases such as “No Church in the Wild,” and “Wolves Don’t Play By The Rules.”

These phrases ofer a vision of cultural renewal that demonstrates Indigenous heritage beyond victimhood.

Barbara Fischer, executive director of the Art Museum, believes that this exhibition is important in disrupting colonial history and its control of the land. In programming this exhibit, the Art Museum engaged with the Ofce of Indigenous Initiatives and a number of faculty, such as Mikinaak Migwans, an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Contemporary Art in the Department of Art History and a curator at the Art Museum. The exhibition brings about memory, history, and questions of colonial disruption, but also encourages viewers to challenge colonial frameworks and reclaim power through art.

In an interview with The Varsity, Monnet said, “It’s the message that dictates the medium that I choose.” Monnet expresses that she doesn’t want her work to just be regarded as beautiful: “I would like it to also be efective and contribute something positive to society.” This is why she incorporates social justice topics and applies her background in sociology to her pieces.

In 2017, U of T published the Wecheehetowin recommendations, the fnal report of the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada. Among the recommendations in the report is a call for more Indigenous artwork that refects Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Canadian culture and society. Monnet’s works answer this call and are an important step in promoting Indigenous art at U of T. The exhibit is on until March 23 and admission is free to all.

Caroline Monnet’s frst exhibition at the Art Museum reverses the colonial gaze Jasmine Wemigwans Varsity Contributor COURTESY OF HEATHER WATTS “Nous sommes le chemin que parcourons/ We are the path we travel.” COURTESY OF TONI HAFKENSCHEID
confronts colonialism and highlights Indigenous identity through contemporary

“Indigenous enough”

What it means to fnd an Indigenous identity in a modern world

When people ask me where I am ‘really’ from, because my response of being Canadian doesn’t sufce, I tell them that my dad was born in the Philippines. I say that my grandparents are immigrants and that I am a proud Filipina. For the longest time, I did not say I was also Indigenous. I did not say that my mother grew up in Northern Ontario, or that my grandfather worked tirelessly to be a recognized member of the Chapleau Cree First Nation, because who was I to claim Indigeneity? I was born and raised in Ottawa. I do not speak Cree. I do not know the culture.

My genes, blood, and family tree carry the culture of Chapleau Cree, but it is not who I am. I have spent the majority of my life distancing myself from my Indigenous roots because I felt like a fraud. I believed that identifying as Indigenous should be reserved only for those who understood what it meant to be Indigenous.

In school and through the media, I have learnt so much about the collective Indigenous pain, about a history of blood, sweat, and tears. Residential schools, the Sixties Scoops, the Indian Act, and years of systemic discrimination — events which have profoundly afected my family, yet fortunately, I haven’t experienced them directly. I was led to believe that these tragedies were the Indigenous identity: that to be Indigenous, I must relate to sufering and trauma.

Only last year did I realize this was, frankly, a stupid notion. In the second semester of my frst year, I took a class called CDN198 — Canada, Colonialism, and Settler Relations. The fnal term paper asked us to explain how we ft into the

Indigenous narrative here in Canada. Although I wrote the paper in about two weeks, it led to months of self-refection and wondering not only about how I ft into the Indigenous narrative, but also about how I would like to ft into the Indigenous narrative. This refection awoke me to the fact that I am “Indigenous enough.” I owed it to myself and the generations that came before me

peoples, but I knew so little of powwows, beading, and the warmth of our community. Perhaps if colonialism had not stripped away the strength of these traditions, or if the media had celebrated our cultures, I would have known that there were ways to connect to my roots other than through the lens of settler colonialism and sufering.

It is because of my mother and the First

to try and connect with my roots, to fnd what Indigenous joy is, and what it means to be Indigenous in the modern world.

I wish people talked more about Indigenous joys, Indigenous livelihoods, and the beauty of Indigenous cultures. I knew so much about colonialism and its devastating efects on Indigenous

Music as survival: The history of the Métis Jig

The Tkaronto Métis Jiggers talk about the art form’s fascinating story

On March 4, dancers from the Tkaronto Métis Jiggers group and a fddler from Métis Strings hosted a crash course on Métis jigging at U of T’s Goldring Fitness Studio. Métis jigging, a syncretic style of dance that fuses diferent styles of European step dancing and Indigenous footwork, performed to fddle music, has found a place in Toronto with the Tkaronto Métis Jiggers.

The history of the jig is fascinating, stemming from some of the interactions between First Nations peoples and Canada’s frst European settlers. The jig is not only a style of dance but also a practice of survival, resistance, and community bonding. The Varsity spoke about the Métis jig with Megan Southwell and Alicia Blore, who, in addition to Teagan de Laronde, ran the dance class on March 4.

Blore and Southwell attested that the Métis are a musical people: they both described that music was always encouraged in their families. Southwell traces her ancestry on her father’s side to Penetanguishene — a part of the historic Georgian Bay Métis community — and Drummond Island. Although Southwell was unfamiliar with Métis fddle music growing up, she had very musical relatives on her father’s side. Upon discovering jigging through the Summer Youth Program put on by the Métis Nation of Ontario, she realized she loved it. This is where she met Blore for the frst time.

“A story for a lot of Métis folks is, if they didn’t grow up making music, they had a natural kind of inclination to music or dance in some way,” said Southwell. “It’s something that you can do as a hobby, as exercise even, but it’s also preserving your culture and your heritage at the same time.”

Music and survival go hand in hand in Métis history.

When European settlers frst arrived in what

is now known as Canada, fuelling the fur trade, many of them started families with First Nations women. It was over generations of marriages between people of mixed ancestry that unique Métis communities were formed, and, through “ethnogenesis,” created a new people. Métis people often served as “middlemen” between European settlers and First Nations peoples.

According to Blore, a good fur trader must possess three main skills: strength, to carry heavy loads and canoes; short stature, to ft compactly in the canoe; and musical ability. “Rhythm is so important for keeping the beat [while paddling] when you’re in a canoe all together,” said Blore. “But music also has the power to uplift people, to motivate them… and that’s also really important when you’re on a long journey together.”

Blore’s skillful, efortless fddling was rich with this jovial, social spirit, which carried us amateur dance students through complex footwork and entertaining dating dances. Even the colourful sashes, which participants in the jigging class used as props to guide footwork or connect a dancing circle, are not only an iconic element of Métis dress, but of survival in the days before Canada was a country. When tied tightly around one’s waist, the sash served as a weight belt to prevent injuries while lifting heavy objects and prevent dying from strangulated hernias — the main cause of death among voyageurs during the fur trade period. Among its many uses, it could also serve as a tourniquet or spare thread for sewing.

A pivotal moment in Métis history was the Red River Resistance, led by Métis revolutionary Louis Riel. Post-1867 confederation, the Canadian government — then centralized in Ontario and Québec — sought to consolidate its power over the rest of Canada’s vast territory. In 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company agreed to sell Rupert’s Land, which included the historically Métis Red River Settlement in Manitoba, to the Canadian

Nations House here at U of T that I have had the opportunity to learn more about what it means to be Indigenous. I’m currently helping my mother write a book on the history of Chapleau Cree. My tasks include transcribing her interviews with Chapleau Cree members, which allows me to see where my ancestors came from and how

government. An openly expansionist Englishman, William McDougall, was appointed LieutenantGovernor of the newly acquired region, and to prepare for an infux of Anglo-Protestant settlers from Ontario, the government sent surveyors to restake the land.

The Métis National Committee, with Riel at its helm, was founded in response to this threat against Métis cultural and land rights. Incorporating “the West” — what we now call Manitoba and Saskatchewan — into the Canadian confederacy was a tumultuous and violent process. The Canadian government hung Riel for treason for his role in the resistance out West but he is recognized now as a hero by Métis peoples and French Canadians. After the hanging of Riel, Blore’s ancestors had to fee Red River Settlement — now known as Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“There was, especially in [Ontario], a lot of hatred towards the Métis community,” explained Blore. “You [had] soldiers coming from the City of Toronto, from this kind of proper area, coming to fght our people, to kill our people, and literally wipe them of

this has shaped Chapleau Cree Nation today. This experience has truly been an honour.

I would also like to thank First Nations House for being so kind, for teaching the importance of good broth on a cold day, and for saying so kindly at the open house at the beginning of the year that “First Nations House is for all of the Indigenous people on campus, especially for those that do not feel that they are Indigenous enough.”

This is an important message to spread, especially since just under 60 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada do not live on reserves, and almost 30 per cent of the Indigenous population is under the age of 25, according to the 2021 census. I do not know the individual stories of the thousands of Indigenous youth living far from their communities. Still, I speculate that many share the same sentiment as me — feeling like an outsider in a culture that is supposed to be their own. I often think that my ancestors would not want their legacy to be in my hands: but if not mine, then whose?

It is terrifying to claim an Indigenous identity with pride, just as it is terrifying to go to First Nations House for the frst time, for the second time, or even for the third time. However, it is even more alarming to think that a long history of Indigenous culture may slowly be eroded if we give into the fear of not being “Indigenous enough.”

As the world develops, cultures change, and globalization takes Indigenous Peoples to new places, neither assimilation nor colonization must win. It is never too late to learn what it means to be Indigenous. If I have learnt anything, it is that being Indigenous is a truly beautiful thing.

the face of the Earth out West. And that has lasting impacts.”

Indeed, Toronto’s history might be described as diametrically opposed to the fourishing of Métis culture, but today, talented fddlers like Blore are creating new histories and connections in the City. Blore has been living in Toronto her whole life, and after discovering she had Métis heritage in her teens — her great-grandfather was a great fddler from Sainte Rose du Lac, Manitoba — she wanted to learn the fddle tunes from his community. She now attends jigging or fddling events and fddling competitions across Ontario.

The Métis community is active in Ontario, including through Métis Nation of Ontario Chartered Community Councils, and uses a system of family lines to trace their heritage. There is no “historic” Toronto Métis community, but the Toronto & York Region Métis Community Council represents many urban Métis of the GTA. The Tkaronto Métis Jiggers taught members of the U of T community not only a fun dance to fddle music but also the rich tradition of Métis resilience that shaped Canada’s history. 14
JESSICA LAM/THEVARSITY Alicia Blore, Teagan de Laronde and Megan Southwell perform at the Indigenous Legacy Gathering in November 2021. COURTESY

Guidelines for research involving Indigenous communities are lacking

U of T researchers’ guidelines suggest ways to improve research by involving Indigenous Peoples

The best research emerges when it is done ethically and in collaboration with the communities it is meant to serve. Yet for hundreds of years, Indigenous Peoples have been either excluded or severely mistreated in research.

Recently, researchers at U of T, Dalhousie University, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published a set of guidelines for research involving Indigenous peoples, developed over several years in collaboration with Indigenous scientists.

“Colonizing the disciplines” and “disciplining the colonized”

When European colonizers arrived in what we now call North America, they brought their research practices with them — and imposed these practices on Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith is Māori of Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou, and director of the International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education at the University of Auckland. They’re the author of Decolonizing Methodologies, a book on the history of research involving Indigenous peoples that discusses how to break out of a strictly Western research framework — explains this history through two lenses: “colonizing the disciplines” and “disciplining the colonized.”

Western scientifc disciplines and ways of research have become individualistic, assertive, and hostile toward other manners of thinking and research, wrote Smith. “Disciplining the colonized” has come in the form of marginalizing Indigenous peoples and their ways of thinking in forceful and violent manners. This marginalization naturally led to a mistrust of researchers within Indigenous communities.

A “paradigm shift” for research

In response, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars have written extensively about how to approach research involving Indigenous peoples in culturally conscious ways. One example is a

recent set of ethical and policy considerations published in Frontiers in Psychology by Dominique Morisano, Margaret Robinson, Brian Rush, and Renee Linklater from U of T, University of Ottawa, Dalhousie University, and CAMH, respectively.

The researchers wrote that these guidelines have been inspired by previous documents created by Indigenous organizations and groups. While working at CAMH, three of the authors of the current paper conducted a review of numerous scholarly articles, policy-oriented documents, books, and online resources ofering guidelines for Canadian settlers conducting mental health research with Indigenous Peoples.

They summarized this work in a 2018 CAMH internal report. To obtain feedback on the report, Morisano and colleagues requested that a large advisory committee of First Nations and Métis scholars and clinicians CAMH and other nonprofts in Toronto review and make suggestions on the report. Those who did so were credited in the Acknowledgement section of the 2018 report. The current article in Frontiers in Psychology draws upon their contributions.

One common thread throughout the guidelines is a need for fundamental shifts in how scientists think about and perform research. “The whole [research] system has to be… diferent to be inclusive of diferent ways of approaching research,” said Morisano, one of the co-authors of the review and an adjunct professor of public health at U of T, in an interview with The Varsity

For instance, tight deadlines for publication and grants limit the time researchers have available to build relationships with Indigenous communities, which is crucial to any communitybased research.

“Something that’s done often, that I’ve seen, in teaching Indigenous research methodologies [is] placing yourself. [Asking yourself] who are you?

Where are you from? Why are you interested in this as a researcher?” explained Julian Robbins in an interview with The Varsity. Robbins is of mixed ancestry with Mi’kmaq heritage and is the manager of research and knowledge mobilization at Shkaabe Makwa, a team at CAMH working

on health justice and wellness for Indigenous Peoples. “In the West, there’s this idea that you’re supposed to be objective and non-feeling. But from an Indigenous perspective, you are part of the research because you are part of those relationships [with the community].”

Another important and necessary shift that the guidelines talk about is for researchers to work with Indigenous communities from beginning to end. It has become common practice for researchers to fully form research questions before engaging with communities. However, researchers should not have immutable aims or questions and instead be open to changing these according to a community’s input.

Working collaboratively with communities may also involve modifcations to the principle of “informed consent”. The guidelines suggest that the consent process should be circular, meaning consent is not obtained just once at the beginning but is sought continuously and throughout. Furthermore, researchers may want to challenge Western ideals of individual consent when they are not in accordance with ways of thinking common to many Indigenous communities, such as collective ownership. In such cases, the guidelines recommend seeking collective consent from community groups prior to individual consent.

Collaborative research that benefts the community

Ultimately, research should beneft the community it came from by giving the community increased knowledge of conditions that afect them or by helping the community to efectively communicate its needs to non-Indigenous structures. “One of the things that struck me from doing this review was that very little to no research that had been done with Indigenous peoples has actually benefted Indigenous peoples in any way, or served them in any way,” said Morisano in the interview.

Far too often, research has been “extractive,” as Robbins put it, where Indigenous communities provide information and data, only for that data to

never help the community or even be shared with community members.

The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (TCPS 2) — ofcial guidelines from Canada’s three Canadian federal research agencies that outline research involving human participants — shows how Morisano and colleagues’ new research guidelines could be implemented. For example, the TCPS 2 writes that if scientists collaborate with a First Nations community to research diabetes in the community, they should then ensure their work helps increase understanding of the disease within the community.

To disseminate their fndings, researchers should once again work with the community involved in their research to fnd the best ways to communicate the research, whether that be through providing plain language versions of reports, translations, oral presentations, or other means. The data from research should also be easily accessible to the community, entirely free of charge.

Benefts to the community extend far beyond simply sharing results. Researchers should also hire and purchase locally and participate in ‘capacity building.’ Capacity building involves training any interested community members in research methods, building infrastructure such as a university in the community, and training researchers in Indigenous histories, languages, and methodologies. In essence, capacity building facilitates reciprocal learning between researchers and community members.

In performing research with an Indigenous community, the key for researchers is to work alongside the community and never treat Indigenous Peoples as a monolith; there is immense diversity between and within Indigenous communities. These guidelines should serve as starting points for researchers working directly with an Indigenous community.

“Indigenous-led research [is] about understanding and making eforts to understand… the underpinnings of these Indigenous methodologies that are out there and just waiting to be used,” said Robbins.

Science March 18, 2024

Laurie Rousseau-Nepton on how her Innu background and identity informs her discipline

North Star documentary details astronomer Rousseau-Nepton’s project “Signals”

Astronomer Laurie Rousseau-Nepton begins every episode of North Star — the National Film Board’s 2023 mini docuseries on her career and philosophies — with the simple phrase: “It is important to know that we are a part of the universe, and that the universe is also a part of us.”

But just how much are our lives and the universe interconnected?

Rousseau-Nepton looks to Innu knowledge to answer these questions. Rich knowledge about astronomy and physics persists in Innu oral tradition from generations before her, but she says the information is slowly fzzling out of Innu knowledge as the oral tradition begins to disappear. “Without the cycle of ancestors, of stars, of generations of stars, we wouldn’t be here today,” she says in an interview with Canadian Geographic

“Innu” means “people” in the Innu language. The homeland of the Innu is Nitassinan, a vast boreal region around Eastern Quebec and Laborador.

In the series, Rousseau-Nepton refects that hunting trips with her father by the Ashuapmushuan River in Québec shaped her into the curious scientist she is now. Since the frst hare trap she laid before she was even two years old, she has been studying interactions between the trees, animal tracks, animal behaviour, and the weather.

Rousseau-Nepton says she’s able to see little details in the environment’s intricate patterns — including, of course, the details in the ever-changing night sky. “When I was little, I really loved watching for shooting stars and the northern lights,” she


She talks about how Innu oral history includes intimate knowledge of weather and stellar patterns so that the Innu may use this knowledge to become more efcient hunters. The North Star — connected to Ursa Major and Ursa Minor constellations — seems to stand still in a constantly moving night sky, and has been a navigational tool for the Innu for centuries.

The Innu, she explains in the series, follow a lunar cycle that is not only helpful as a calendar but also as a guide for understanding animal behaviour. Moose, for example, will likely be out travelling while the moon is bright and will move most on a cloudless night with a full moon. They “hunker down” and don’t move as much during a night without a bright moon. Tracking the moon’s cycle thus helps hunters understand when moose are likely to remain in an area for longer periods.

The stars hold special spiritual meaning in Innu culture as well: according to Innu philosophy, she said in an interview with Canadian Geographic, “We come from the stars and we return to the stars.”

“Through that philosophy, you’re never dead,” she refected in the interview.

Before becoming an assistant professor at U of T’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Rousseau-Nepton worked on a project using a spectrometer that she had helped to create –SITELLE, which is an Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (IFTS). A spectrometer is a tool that splits light collected by telescopes into specifc colours that can tell the astronomer which periodic elements they’re viewing. The elements present can shape an understanding of how young and

active a galaxy is. The telescope that houses SITELLE is housed in one of many observatories on Mauna Kea, an inactive volcano in Hawai’i. Surrounded by nothing but ocean, with a lack of light pollution to interfere with the light pouring into each telescope, and minimal wind turbulence to interfere with imaging, Mauna Kea is the ideal location for studying astronomy. But this volcano’s status as a hotspot for observatories has been contested because it is a sacred location for Native Hawaiians.

The dormant volcano stretches out in rounded

red and grey peaks above volcanic clouds. Like chess pieces along the rounded natural board,

The scale of the data that SITELLE collects is unthinkable: tens of thousands of star formations are documented in a database called “Signals.”

Rousseau-Nepton fnds that expanse beautiful and fascinating. In understanding these star formations through the Signals database, she hopes to understand the mechanisms of the birth of stars, and perhaps understand more of the history of how we came to be.

In the series, Rousseau-Nepton discussed whether her detailed understanding of the stars ever made a night sky less beautiful. “If you removed all this knowledge from my life and from my brain, I don’t think I’d feel as complete,” she says. The integration of Innu history, she explains, completes her understanding of the universe.

Breaking down barriers: Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s masters program in Indigenous health

Equipping students and healthcare professionals to address Indigenous health disparities

In a move toward enhancing its commitment to addressing health disparities, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) Waakebiness Institute ofers an innovative master’s degree program that spotlights Indigenous health. U of T’s Master of Public Health in Indigenous Health (MPH-IH) is an initiative looking to empower students and healthcare professionals to understand the unique health challenges faced by Indigenous communities caused by colonialism as well as systematic and institutional racism.

The Waakebiness Institute has partnered with Indigenous organizations like the Kenora Chiefs Advisory and Chiefs of Ontario for wellness through research and education and to create a collaborative hub for the U of T community. The program was spearheaded by the frst Indigenous health lead at the DLSPH, Assistant Professor Angela Mashford-Pringle, who is an Algonquin woman from Timiskaming First Nation. Mashford-Pringle serves as the program’s coordinator. In an interview with U of T News, she outlined that “the Indigenous defnition of health is that you have balance in your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self in your family, community and nation.”

With a focus on evaluating interventions for disease prevention and enhancing health outcomes, this program will bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes.

Building a sense of community outside of lectures

In an interview with U of T News, Dr. Mashford-

Pringle highlighted the program’s preservation of a sense of community through students’ direct engagement with Indigenous communities. The program goes beyond conventional lectures with land-based learning. Here, students spend time with Indigenous Elders and knowledge keepers on nature walks and fre ceremonies to learn about the signifcance of the land in Indigenous culture and how displacement afects Indigenous communities’ health outcomes.

In an email to The Varsity , Michelle Edgar, a current MPH-IH student and Two-Spirit Anishinaabeg woman from The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, highlighted the value of practical learning used in the program.

“Having access to elders, knowledge-keepers, and medicine people that would regularly have taken years of community engagement to develop relationships with is such a unique beneft to people that may not have otherwise ever had the opportunity to be exposed to those knowledges. Having it clearly communicated that the time it takes to develop and

hone Indigenous knowledges to the point that you are recognized and respected in community is of equal or greater value than degrees handed out by Western institutions is something really important for people to hear,” she wrote.

Admissions to the program

This professional graduate program has no thesis requirement and prepares students for diverse career paths in community governance, policy development, research, industry, and academia. From research methods in Indigenous health to public health sciences, students have the freedom to choose elective courses tailored to their interests and aspirations.

At its core, the program prioritizes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis knowledge, pedagogies, theories, and frameworks for teaching, learning, and research in the feld of public health. The features that set this program apart from other programs in Health Studies include immersive land-based activities and hands-on research projects, like

studying Indigenous food systems, creating opportunities for students to learn beyond the walls of a classroom.And here’s the beauty of it: this program is open to everyone.

“The overall culture and atmosphere of the MPH-IH program is complicated, but in a good way… Rather than a didactic approach where the knowledge inherent to my lived experience as an Anishinaabeg person on these lands is disregard[ed], it is seen as an asset,” wrote Edgar. “Community relations and connections are encouraged. Collaboration and peer knowledge sharing is encouraged. A more rounded and robust learning experience is available within the MPH-IH program than I have seen ofered elsewhere.”

Admissions processes look beyond grades, valuing lived experiences, community engagement, and a deep understanding of the social determinants of health. Prospective applicants are encouraged to possess a background in social sciences and interdisciplinary studies, refecting the interconnected nature of health disparities. The core skills embedded within the curriculum empower students to address the multifaceted challenges Indigenous communities face. These competencies include cultural safety and community needs assessment, program planning and implementation, and research evaluation.

For those curious about the MPH in Indigenous Health, the DLSPH’s Open House in October ofers a glimpse into the program’s ethos and values. It’s an opportunity to connect with faculty, current students, and Indigenous leaders who are helping to shape the future of Indigenous health. 16 THE VARSITY SCIENCE
Laurie Rousseau-Nepton as a resident at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. COURTESY OF JUSTINE GIROUX Canada France Hawaii Telescope Observatory inside. COURTESY OF JUSTINE GIROUX e observatories on the summit of the Mauna Kea dormant volcano. COURTESY OF JUSTINE GIROUX Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope outside. COURTESY OF JUSTINE GIROUX Laurie returns to the Ashuapmushuan Wildlife Reserve to meet with her father. COURTESY OF JUSTINE GIROUX e Dalla Lana School o ers a Master of Public Health in Indigenous Health. ASHLEY JEONG/THEVARSITY


March 18, 2024

Meeting in the middle: Culture and sport

A journey of identity and creating community

Do you ever feel like you have to pick a version of yourself for the day but then become a completely diferent version of yourself as soon as you step into a diferent space?

That is a daily dilemma when I walk around the campus and this city. One second, I am a student going to my classes — not doing the readings and being an outgoing individual who seems like nothing would phase her. The next second, I’m stepping onto the pool deck as part of a team of 22, where usually my voice is not the loudest in the room. Then I’m racing to a round dance where I can meet up with my family and friends and just enjoy the drumming, singing, and food.

Most days I like it like this. Yet, truthfully, I’m still trying to fgure out how to skillfully balance the various intersections of my life. So, let me introduce myself:

My name is Averi Doxtator. I’m a member of the Oneida of the Thames First Nation. My family is from Bkejwanong in Southern Ontario on my mom’s side and Sioux Valley, Manitoba on my dad’s side. I grew up in unceded Algonquin Territory in Ottawa playing every sport you could imagine. Hockey, gymnastics, volleyball, water polo — you name it, I’ve probably competed in it.

In 2022, I moved to Toronto to attend U of T and now play on the Varsity Blues women’s

water polo team — I started in 2020, but we only started getting back in the water to play water polo after the pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Growing up in Ottawa was such a diferent experience for me because I realized that I did not get to experience my culture and teachings the way some of my relatives did. Of course, I’m grateful for the opportunities I had growing up in the city, mostly because it brought me closer to sports — making it such an important role in my life. Yet, as I got older, I realized that the relationship I had built with sports was flling in for the absence of culture at the time. Since much of my identity growing up was in sports, I believed I was my sport — that’s what I was known for.

It was when I started at U of T in 2020 that I realized water polo was becoming my entire identity. I thought my sport defned me because it was something I did so often. Then, it dawned that I did not want to remain limited to this box I created for myself.

I quickly realized that I have a responsibility to my Indigenous community to establish a reciprocal relationship. So, in the same year, I started to get involved with the urban Indigenous community in Toronto through the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. That summer, I was elected President of the Indigenous Youth Council of the National Association of Friendship Centres. The role required me to be the voice for urban Indigenous youth nationwide to advocate for

Breaking ice and barriers: The story of Sophie Grawbarger

From Garden River First Nation to the Varsity Blues, Grawbarger is a star

Tales of perseverance, dedication, and victory often take the spotlight in the world of ice hockey. Within this narrative is the inspirational journey of Sophie Grawbarger, a fourth-year forward and a standout player on the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team.

Grawbarger, who is specializing in Indigenous studies and minoring in history at U of T, sat down with The Varsity to discuss some of the highlights of her hockey career and refect on her experience as a Varsity Blue.

Journey into the hockey world

Growing up in Garden River First Nation, Grawbarger’s introduction to hockey came at around the age of fve. “My parents introduced it to me, specifcally my dad. They just signed me up thinking I would probably quit a couple [of] days later, but I actually really fell in love with it. And I’ve been playing ever since,” said Grawbarger.

From those early days on the ice to the present, hockey has been more than just a sport for Grawbarger; it has become her safe place to fnd peace. “I love being a hockey player because anytime I step on the ice, anything else going on or stressing [me] out, I just forget about it. And I can go on the ice for an hour or two, just have a clear mind and think about hockey,” Grawbarger said.

She found inspiration from Detroit Red Wings right-winger Patrick Kane, specifcally his skillful puck-handling maneuvers. She emulated his style, honing her abilities as a player on the ice.

Path to the Varsity Blues

Grawbarger’s dedication and talent didn’t go unnoticed, leading her to join the Blues women’s

our resilience and to connect to our culture. This position changed my mind about how I continued to present myself in my sport, school, and life in general. I let go of the idea that one thing — water polo — could defne me, but I also let go of the pressure of giving back to my community because I learned how to show up for them in every space I walked into. My ‘community’ is no longer defned by the physical spaces I found myself in because I learned how to bring all versions of myself together.

I’m not a master at this yet. I sometimes struggle to relate to the experience of being a Varsity Blues athlete and not having anyone looking to make sure I am succeeding in the generic terms of success. Through my journey of reconnecting to my culture and language, I’ve learnt that these measures are a colonial perspective of what it means to succeed. Instead, success should be defned as wins you experience daily that fulfll your spirit.

learning how to be present for myself and the

community that I have built around me. At the end of the day, I believe the people who are around you in the darkest of times will be the ones you are shining with when it’s the best of times.

Miigwech for the opportunity to share a bit of my story. If it doesn’t make sense to you right now, it will make sense in the future when you start letting go of a singular identity to defne yourself.

hockey team after catching the eye of Blues head coach Vicky Sunohara. “My coach Vicky reached out and said they were interested in maybe doing a tour, so I came to Toronto to do a tour and I fell in love with the campus along with the rink. I knew it was a really prestigious program, so it was an easy choice for me to come here,” Grawbarger said.

Her decision marked a signifcant milestone in her hockey career. In the previous 2022–2023 season, she secured the second position on the team by scoring eight points during the postsea son, and this success persisted into this season, with her scoring 10 goals as of March 17. Never theless, her most cherished hockey memory was winning the McCaw Cup last year. “It was the frst time I actually won a championship in my life, so it was a really good experience,” said Grawbarger. Moreover, hockey has allowed her to form mean ingful bonds and explore new horizons, enriching her life both on and of the rink.

Refecting on the current season, Grawbarger expressed confdence and anticipation as the team headed into the U SPORTS Championship, played in Saskatoon. Despite the weight of expectations stemming from the team’s past successes, she emphasized the importance of staying grounded and trusting in the collective strength of her team. This camaraderie and mutual trust form the bedrock of Grawbarger and her team’s strategy — a strategy built on resilience, adaptability, and belief.

The team has shined in Saskatoon, advancing into the U SPORTS Championship Final to play against the Concordia Stingers. Specifcally, in their 2–1 quarterfnal victory against the University of New Brunswick Reds, Grawbarger scored the game-winning goal and was named player of the match.

Family and community

Central to Grawbarger’s journey is her family’s unwavering support and the close-knit bonds she shares with her teammates and coaches. Their encouragement and belief in her abilities have been a constant source of strength, propelling her through triumphs.

However, her journey as a hockey player hasn’t been without its challenges. “Thankfully, I haven’t had any major injuries, but overall, being a student-athlete is stressful with all the schoolwork, deadlines, and everything,” said Grawbarger. She further emphasized the signifcance of efective communication in maintaining a balance between academics and athletics.

Beyond hockey, Grawbarger is deeply invested in her academic pursuits. “I wasn’t aware of

have compared to other schools in Ontario. So I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” said Grawbarger. She also tries to stay active in the Indigenous Student Association at U of T, striving to stay connected with her cultural heritage and community, while excelling academically and athletically.

Lessons learned, dreams pursued

Looking ahead, Grawbarger embraces her future with an open mind. “Something I’ve really tried to do here is just enjoy every moment and don’t take anything for granted. I think moving forward, I just want to try to live in the moment and not think too much about what’s to come and what I have to worry about later,” said Grawbarger. Her advice to the players of the next generation and Indigenous youth is simple yet profound: work hard and believe in yourself. In celebrating Grawbarger’s achievements, we honour her athletic prowess and pay homage to the resilience and tenacity of Indigenous athletes everywhere. As she continues to carve her path, Grawbarger stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring athletes.
Doxtator has learned how to balance the intersections of her life. COURTESY OF YEN LEE CC AVERI DOXTATOR Grawbarger hustles for the puck. COURTESY OF SEYRAN MAMMADOV CC VARSITY BLUES MEDIA

Before ice hockey: Duwarken, ricket, Oochamkunutk, Alchamadijik, and hurley


The Mi’kmaw origins of Canada’s national sport

Before 1875 — the year the International Ice Hockey Federation declared to have had the frstever organized game of ice hockey in Montréal — Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia had already been playing a similar game. Even before carbon dating revealed that a precursor of the hockey stick, likely made by a Mi’kmaw carver from darkened yellow birch, dated back to the seventeenth century, the oral history of the Mi’kmaq told us as much. With this, one can see not only the origins of the game, but also its evolution.

Before the making of hockey sticks became industrialized in the 1930s, the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia carved their own sticks and sold them internationally. Mi’kmaq carvers often used hornbeam trees, native to Nova Scotia and known for their durability — and their odour. Similarly, carvers sometimes used yellow birch, another durable hardwood.

Oochamkunutk and hurley on ice Alchamadijik is a Mi’kmaw term used to describe early versions of the modern game of ice hockey. The game’s origins can be traced back to similar games called Oochamkunutk in the Mi’kmaq language, a term that refers to feld and ice games.



Alchamadijik seems to have emerged through a combination of Oochamkunutk and a game called ‘hurley on ice,’ — a European rendition of an Irish feld game — and the sport we know today began taking shape.

At frst, players played hurley on ice with a hard wooden ball, but this was eventually changed to barrel plugs, or ‘cork-bungs,’ possibly due to frequent shin injuries. Cork-bungs look similar to the pucks used today and hockey historians have

suggested that the game’s modern name comes from hock ale — a beer brewed and stored in barrels with bungs — made for Hocktide, a medieval English festival.

Contemporary hurley sticks are carved from the wood of the ash tree and shaped so that the ball can be balanced on the blade as players run with it. However, before this alteration in 1920, hurley sticks resembled present-day ice hockey sticks.

Along with Alchamadijik, hurley on ice, and Oochamkunutk, there was another traditional Mi’kmaw game which featured a ball played on ice — Duwarken. In the game, a striker would hit a round stone on the ice with a stick. In 1913, Jerry Lonecloud, who was Mi’kmaw from Nova Scotia, described this stick as likely to be a spruce root known to players as Duwarkenaught. The stone was then retrieved by a player, with opposition players attempting to take it from the stone carrier before they could return it to the striker.

It may be that the hockey stick we know today is inspired by a combination of the spruce roots used in Duwarken and the sticks used in hurling, made possible through the skills of Mi’kmaw wood carvers.


European accounts from the late 1600s record that Mi’kmaw players also played an early version of ice hockey, known as ‘ricket.’ These news articles and observations detail that the game featured two ‘rickets,’ each consisting of two stones that were placed about three feet apart that would act as a goalpost.

The game’s goal was to score with a cherrywood puck through the opposing ricket, which a player guarded. Once teammates were chosen by their captains, they would take their sticks and throw the ball into the air, commencing the game. The similarities between ricket and ice hockey are clear.

Ice hockey’s roots can be traced back to diferent games played by the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia. European stick and ball games such as hurley have also likely infuenced the game we play today. Ice hockey emerged by embracing cultural contact between both European and Mi’kmaw games.

of the U of T women’s fag football team

The decade-long journey from an adored club to a recognized team

On January 23, 2024, the U of T Women’s Flag Football Team (UTWFF) announced their new status as a U of T Sports & Recreation Team.

Instead of aiming to tackle the ball carrier, as in gridiron football, fag football players tuck a ‘fag’ into their uniform waistband that opponents try to pull out to fnish the play. Flag football is considered to be a safer variation of football, and also makes for a great introduction to football in general.

With this recognition, the team is excited for their chance at a new beginning and all the new opportunities that this has opened up to them, including access to more facilities.

A decade-long fght

Going into fall 2023, the UTWFF had two main goals: to become a recognized Sports and Recreation team — or to get “Varsity status” — and to win championships. The team had been trying to become a recognized team for over a decade as they felt they’d beneft by receiving more support from the university to sustain their program.

When under the club designation, the UTWFF

are not able to book practice times on campus,” Subecca Vasanthakumaran, an import linebacker and wide receiver on the team, explained in an interview with The Varsity, before the announcement. “Our team [resorts] to external feld spaces far away from campus making it difcult for practices and tryouts to be accessible.”

Getting recognized as a Sports and Recreation team would also allow for paid coaches rather than volunteer coaches, and accessible physiotherapy. “We have high-calibre athletes that are not getting the recognition they deserve,” Julie Van, the team’s co-head coach, explained.

After receiving their well deserved recognition from U of T, the team is fnally being valued — along with the magnifcent community they’ve created.

“This will be a huge stepping stone,” said Madeleine Chu, UTWFF’s media relations ofcer, right guard, and center. “[It will] allow our team to evolve into something even greater than as we stand right now.”

More than jersey numbers

The family-like connection that the UTWFF has fostered is extremely evident. “My favourite thing about the team is the people,” Meaghan Cooper,

to have amazing coaches that dedicate so much of their time for us, and this is a team where you can meet some of your closest friends.”

The team’s strong sense of team camaraderie drives team success. “It’s rare that a practice goes by and no one makes plans to go out to eat or chill with other members,” Janielle Palmer, UTWFF’s former ofensive guard, explained. “[We are] a community of friends who happen to also play football together, instead of a group of players who don’t know anything more than each other’s jersey number.”

Coaches make all the diference

Van is the team’s role model. “She believes in us, as people, as players, and as a team, and it makes me want to put in the work to show her how much I appreciate her dedication to this team, this sport, and the fag community,” said Daniella Chung, UTWFF’s fnancial ofcer, defensive tackle, and receiver.

Van explained that she had many great mentors, such as her coaches, Ross Asaro and Joe Cappiello, and her PhD supervisor, James Scholey. “I want my athletes to feel safe and comfortable in exploring new concepts… and roles… [to empow-

Team triumphs

The team is driven, passionate, and has incredible potential. The team placed eighth overall and highest from Ontario during the Intercollegiate 5s National Championships in Montréal last May. 5v5 style, or ‘5s,’ is the most common fag football style. It is completely non-contact with no linemen. “We played against some top Montréal teams and it showed us how good we could be, and that what we have here at U of T, on this team, is something special,” Chung explained. “Montréal was just the frst step, and I’m so excited to see how much further we can go this year.”

The team is striving to win the Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Football Association 5v5 Provincial Title and compete at the Canadian National Collegiate Flag Football Championship for the third year consecutively. They also have other goals. “Looking ahead, many of our all-star athletes from UTWFF have their sights set on competing for Team Canada at the 2028 Olympic Games in LA,” explained Chu.

Moving forward

As successful as the team is, they welcome and encourage new players to join their community. “Our team is flled with so many diverse people, from frst-year students to PhDs; from players new to the sport to experienced vets; from quarterbacks to linemen,” Surpriya Vasanthakumaran, UTWFF’s co-president and receiver, said. “There is a spot for anyone on our team and that is what makes it so fun.”

If you are interested in joining the UTWFF, look out for the team’s open practices and events posted on their Instagram: @uoftfagfootball. 18 THE VARSITY SPORTS
e UTWFF team has fostered a strong community at U of T. COURTESY OF UTWFF

Opinion: Saudi Arabia’s soccer league is stirring controversy — will the gamble pay of?

Examining Saudi Arabia’s controversial soccer revolution

Many countries from both Europe and South America have historically dominated the sport of soccer, but a country from the Middle East has recently drawn signifcant criticism for efforts to build its soccer society. Saudi Arabia, a country with more money than it can spend in a lifetime, has planted seeds in the soccer world by signing high-calibre players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Neymar Jr., and Sadio Mané, who have all decided to jump ship to embark on a new endeavour.

So, how did the Saudi Arabian Pro League (RSL) manage to attract that type of talent in such a short amount of time? When Ronaldo signed for Al-Nassr FC on December 30, 2022, for a two-and-a-half-year contract for USD 216 million — around USD 75 million a year — he

became a crucial component of the league’s long-term plan. Neymar Jr., a recent acquisition from Al-Hilal SFC — who agreed to a ridiculous $400 million contract — noted in his frst interview since signing there that “Ronaldo started all of this and everyone called him crazy.”

Numerous soccer journalists and owners worldwide have voiced their concerns about the spending of Saudi Arabian teams. I share some of their concerns about the enormous expenses tied to these players, as well as additional forms of payment that the players will be provided — depending on their victories in games or the number of posts they about Saudi Arabia and its soccer culture.

The fees associated with these players are not only ridiculous, but they will also undoubtedly pressure non-Saudi clubs to pay more to retain their respective players. As a result, clubs will be more likely to calculate their investment

based on a player’s image than on their actual abilities.

Furthermore, there are questions about whether providing high salaries to players is the most sustainable and efective method for the league to grow. Jordan Henderson, who signed for Al-Ettifaq FC in the summer, recently requested to transfer out of the club and joined the iconic Dutch club Ajax FC in January. His decision to leave after only six months was based on the lack of fan attendance, the weather, and the level of play, among other reasons. Despite the high wages Al-Ettifaq was paying him, Henderson chose to leave.

Benzema and Roberto Firmino are also reportedly looking to follow in Henderson’s footsteps and pursue a transfer out of the RSL. So, will money really lead to the RSL’s growth and solve its problems, or will it ruin soccer and inevitably collapse the league? Henderson’s decision

to sign with Ajax raises a larger question about whether this league can sustain itself and build credibility to attract top talents without money being the root cause of those acquisitions.

I see a similar path created by the Chinese Super League (CSL), where money was a big reason players ventured there in the early 2010s. Nevertheless, it remains too early to tell whether the RSL will face the same fate as the CSL, lasting only briefy before becoming an afterthought. Although the Saudi league has drawn attention from around the world for their talent acquisition, I have doubts about the sustainability of its plan. I question whether the players accept their terms for the money or for the chance to play to the best of their abilities.

Ronaldo infamously said that he thinks the “Saudi League will be in the top fve leagues in the world.” Only time will tell whether that will come to fruition. MARCH 18, 2024 19
Cristiano Ronaldo has inspired other players to move to Saudi Arabia. COURTESY OF MEGHDAD MAMADI CC WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Professional Procrastinator

The Varsity’s Weekly Crossword — Legendary fgures

All the clues with an asterisk are ‘theme words’; the answer for those clues is a gure from the named mythology or pantheon.


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