National Aboriginal Day
June 21, 2017
by: Lisa Shales, Communications Work Study Student
National Aboriginal Day is a time established for all Canadians to take the occasion to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. King’s is committed to fulfilling the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and to use our collective voices to build a stronger relationship with Indigenous people of Canada.
- King’s is proud to recognize and celebrate our Indigenous Alumni. This year, Alana Pawley received the Dr. Valio Markkanen Aboriginal Graduate Award of Excellence for 2017. Alana is Ojibwe from Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation and she was the representative for Indigenous Students on the King’s University College Students’ Council in 2016/2017.
- Valerie Hopkins from the Lenaapee/Delaware First Nation was one of three Indigenous student graduates in 2016. Valerie completed three degrees at King’s (Childhood and Social Institutions, Bachelor of Social Work, and Masters of Social Work). As she graduated from the Master of Social Work program 2016, she stated that “my time and my life at King’s as an Indigenous student has been quite the experience. I certainly could not have done this without the support of Indigenous Services, the professors at King’s, in particular Rick Csiernik and Sharon Vitali, and my fellow students, whom I adore.”
- In 2013, Bachelor of Social Work graduate Shawn Johnston received the Adult Learner Award. Adult Learner Awards recognizes and acknowledges the efforts and contributions of learners for the enhancement of their lives through adult education. Western’s Director of First Nations Studies, Dr. Susan Hill, described Johnston as “one of the most gifted people I have ever worked with. He embodies the values of his people and culture, and he has received many accomplishments. He has an adherence to his culture values and has always gone back to them, even after going through difficult times.”
In recent years, King’s has played an active role in the development of curriculum, programs and services that celebrate and acknowledge the diverse indigenous communities locally and throughout Canada. King’s was pleased to initiate, along with the Sisters of St. Joseph, the first annual Principal’s Lecture in Contemporary Indigenous Issues. Additionally, we have welcomed Liz Akiwenzie as our Indigenous Cultural Educator/Elder to King’s this past academic year to offer her knowledge, teachings and to support our community at King’s. Chief Leslee White-Eye is on our Board of Directors and at King’s Spring Convocation this year, she was the recipient of an Honorary Degree.
You can learn about more information on support for Indigenous students at King’s here.