Brock University is taking a major step in its institutional growth and development by announcing that Amos Key Jr. will become the University’s first-ever vice-provost, Indigenous Engagement.
The newly-created senior position will be dedicated to supporting Brock’s Indigenous education as well as its community engagement and partnership initiatives.
Key, who is currently an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Studies, begins his position at Brock on July 1.
Following a year-long international search, Key was unanimously recommended by the search committee, which included students, faculty and staff from across the University and Indigenous communities.
Brock President Gervan Fearon said the University is establishing this senior position to advance and lead Brock’s goal to strengthen relationships of trust with Indigenous communities and partners across all sectors and activities of the University.
“Last year, our Senate and Board of Trustees approved an Institutional Strategic Plan that set a new focus for Brock, based on four key priorities,” said Fearon. “These priorities include fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization at Brock. We are delighted to welcome a new vice-provost to advance the realization of this priority.”
Key, a member of the Mohawk Nation, studied sociology (Western University), photographic arts (Ryerson University) and television and communication arts (Mohawk College). He has been the First Nations Language Director for 25 years at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, and has also served in a wide variety of positions with organizations in a career characterized by helping develop Indigenous initiatives in education, the arts, communications media and intergovernmental affairs.
He said he is honoured to be joining “the Brock University family.”
“After the rigour and process Brock University initiated to ensure we are a good fit, I am truly grateful,” he said. “And I am excited with the opportunity to bring and share my Indigenous lens and philosophy to Brock at this time in my career. I hope to work with colleagues to embed and put into practice the spirit of some of the 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and many of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and not just those that call to academia.
“I also want to ‘shine a light’ on the unique Indigenous ideologies — or as we say, Indigeneity — of the Indigenous Civilizations of Ontario. Brock has a tremendous opportunity to dialogue and discuss these historic truths in a safe, collegial and respectable environment, and take a leadership role not only in reconciliation but in ‘reconcili-action’ to respond to these truths.
“Brock is situated right in the centre of Haudenosaunee and Aanishinaabeg Territories (Dish with One Spoon Covenant), which is also home to many new Indigenous Peoples, including the Metis and Inuit and their communities. These civilizations and communities are important strategic partners, giving us at Brock an amazing opportunity and coveted profile in this province and within Indigenous Academia.”
Greg Finn, the University’s Interim Provost and Vice-President Academic, chaired the advisory committee which oversaw the candidate search. He said the process itself was defined by inclusion and collaboration.
“The position itself was recommended over two years ago with consultation from the Indigenous Education Advisory Committee, the Aboriginal Education Council, the Two-Row, One Dish, One Spoon Council, the Tecumseh Centre as well as Indigenous students, staff and faculty,” said Finn.
“Obviously it was important that all relevant partners have a say in defining this important chapter of the University’s evolution. I am pleased to welcome Amos Key as Brock’s inaugural vice-provost, Indigenous Engagement.”