Vancouver Island University president Deborah Saucier has been named 2020 recipient of Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ Indigenous Women in Leadership award. Pictured here, Saucier at her installation ceremony in November. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

VIU president receives Indigenous Women in Leadership award

Deborah Saucier recognized for work around reconciliation on university campuses

Vancouver Island University’s president and vice-chancellor has been recognized for her work and commitment to advance reconciliation.

According to a press release, Deborah Saucier, who is Métis, has been conferred with the 2020 Indigenous Women in Leadership Award by Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and TD Bank Group and will be presented the award on Sept. 16 at CCAB’s Business Recovery Forum.

Saucier is working toward closing the education gap for indigenous youths, the press release said, and in her previous position as president of MacEwan University in Edmonton, she worked to incorporate UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls to action into the institution’s decision-making.

RELATED: VIU names next president

Saucier worked to implement policy and other changes on campus in order for indigenous students to see their culture reflected on campus, the press release said, and she continues that work at VIU.

“A major focus for me as an administrator has been to change the narrative about who goes to university, which helps to move the needle and increase the number of women and indigenous peoples in leadership positions,” Saucier said in the press release. “We still have a long way to go to remove barriers and create supportive, inclusive learning and working environments.

“For me, this award recognizes the importance of this work, and I am honoured and humbled to be recognized in this way.”

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business said it was honoured to award Saucier for her work.

“Economic empowerment starts with a solid education that celebrates indigenous identities and cultures,” Tabatha Bull, CCAB president and CEO, said in the press release. “Dr. Saucier’s work is ensuring that the next generation of indigenous entrepreneurs, visionaries, and leaders get the support and education they need to be successful for themselves and their communities.”

Saucier has been VIU president since July 2019.

RELATED: New VIU president sworn in at Snuneymuxw Longhouse

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