“Some of our Indigenous students are the first in their family to come to post-secondary and it’s a tough thing to navigate. There can be a lack trust in the education system because of the impact of residential schools. So it’s a really big deal for those students and their family, too.
It’s important that we let Indigenous students know they matter, and part of that is through providing awareness to non-Indigenous communities. We are trying to dispel the stereotypes and myths that are out there and provide information. For example, why we have certain kinds of ceremonies and what they involve.
That’s why we have the Cultural Lecture Series and initiatives like the REDress Campaign. That knowledge and awareness is important for us to be sharing and for people to realize that the issues we talk about are things that matter today.
Also, as Indigenous people, it’s really important to know where we come from.
We have a lot of students who have grown up fully immersed in their culture. But it’s also common for us to hear from a student that they just found out they had an Indigenous ancestry, or they were adopted as an infant and are just learning about their culture now. There is an opportunity for them to do that here.”
Jean Dube (left) and Tapaarjuk Moore, Aboriginal Student Advisors, SAIT Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Centre