It is with heavy hearts that the team at TCDC share the news of the recent passing of our dear colleague, Jennifer Ward. Jen joined TCDC in September 2021 as Curriculum Consultant, Indigenization Specialist, and although she was with the college for only a short time, she made a deep and lasting impact on those who were fortunate to have worked with her.
We were so honoured that she could bring her extensive experience and gentle yet bold approach to helping faculty at snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ to Indigenize and decolonize their curriculum.
Jennifer was from the Umpqua nation. Prior to joining us, she had worked in both the K-12 education system and the post-secondary environment to weave Indigenous worldviews into curriculum and teaching praxis. She taught undergrad English, Education, Walls to Bridges prison education courses, and Indigenous Studies courses.
Jennifer was also a doctoral student within the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research area centred on Indigenous women’s wellness in the academy, during which time she co-led and co-authored two articles and one book chapter about Indigenous women’s experiences in higher education. Jennifer was also the recipient of the 2020 Alberta Award for the Study of Canadian Human Rights and Multiculturalism for her PhD thesis. Working with Elders, students and community are some of her most cherished experiences. Jennifer’s husband shared with us that the University of Alberta will be posthumously awarding Jennifer her PhD at their June 2022 convocation.
Above all, Jennifer was a loving partner, mother, stepmother, and grandmother. She spoke of her family with such love and gratitude. During one workshop session that Jennifer facilitated for us, she said she fondly recalled her father saying, “We might be poor, but we’re rich with love.” Indeed, Jennifer’s love for her family, her work, and her commitment to Indigenous communities was rich with love.
We are profoundly saddened by the loss of this powerful, gifted woman but honoured and grateful to have had the chance to know her. We will be working with the Langara Foundation in the coming months to establish a scholarship or bursary in Jennifer’s name.