It’s no secret that throughout Canadian history there are plenty of examples of the Canadian government’s assimilation policies, all with the goal to remove the Indian from the Indian. The most oppressive of which is arguably the Indian Act.
But, if there is an antidote to this legislation – it can be found in the halls and heart of the First Nations University of Canada. It is indeed Canada’s best-kept secret.
Having gone through countless battles and continuous ones, Indigenous people are breaking free from oppression; and, the graduates of FNUniv, that you can read about here, are a prime example of just that.
One of the remarkable things about this university is how welcoming it is. Not only for Indigenous students, but for students from all other nations and backgrounds as well. Here, you’re able to learn about Indigenous culture and the teachings, taught ways rather that are more intuitive than in some regular classrooms.
The Fine Arts program at FNUniv is a great example, because they offer classes that involve things like the art of beading. All students,whether you are Indigenous of not, are also encouraged to attend and take part in the Indigenous ceremonies that happen throughout the school year right on campus. From powwows to round dances and sweats to feasts, as well as pipe ceremonies, the university is truly a one-of-a-kind remarkable school and can be seen as the leader in Indigenous education throughout Canada.
While we are celebrating 40 years of Indigenous education, we also need to celebrate and acknowledge the resilience of Indigenous people. The First Nations University of Canada is one of a kind, but I think it should have satellite campuses across the country.
Government leaders always talk about bridging the gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people, as well as reconciling the residential schooling system (the last one closing in Saskatchewan in 1996). One of the best ways to do this is through the unique teaching and style on this campus. Education can bring us together, teach us our shared history, and help us surge forward together. A focus on more modernized teaching couple with traditional Indigenous curriculum is life-changing and builds the bridges naturally. So funding this institution needs to be a priority, allowing it to grow and prosper can be beneficial for all Canadians.
The First Nations University of Canada is a hidden gem, because it continues to open many doors for Indigenous people and as well as helping non-Indigenous people understand us.
But, the absolute true beauty of this place is its ability to welcome all people of different people, because together we can learn, succeed, and make our nation a better place to live.