Family Support Makes All The Difference

When Bruce Spence started university at the First Nations University of Canada he was a mature student. With a journalism diploma under his belt already, he decided to major in Indian Studies.

Unlike most students in his program, Bruce was married with children when he decided to return and says that having those responsibilities on top of school work made for busy days.

He says whenever he thought maybe things wouldn’t work out all he had to do was look to his parents.

While his was going to university, his father was still on campus as well. He worked for the university and even though he had retired, Bruce says his father was just not used to staying at home. Bruce remembers his father wandering the halls at the University of Regina.

“I figured if my dad could do it, so could I,” he says.

Spence says having both parents so close was a real blessing.

“Your mother’s your mother, she’s the source of your life, the source of all systems, and everything else,” says Bruce.

He says thanks to funding from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation he was able to continue his academic journey and finally graduate with a history degree.

Bruce says there are many elders who helped him along the way as well, including late James Ironeagle, Willie Peigan, as well as Doctor Oliver Brass who gave Bruce the guidance he needed to learn more about his spirituality.

Bruce also kept active playing hockey for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chiefs while he was in school but says he never let it interfere with his class work or getting good grades.

After over sixteen years at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and over thirty years of experience in journalism, Bruce holds the job title of the Line Producer. This man of few words says he has had luck on his side through most of his academic journey, although his success shows where a combination of hard work and luck can lead.



by Morgan Esperance