One of the First Nations House of Learning’s great honours is to celebrate the achievement of the University of British Columbia’s Aboriginal graduates, together with their families and supporters from throughout British Columbia and beyond. This year’s graduation theme, Transformation, highlighted a profound spirit of change brought about by education. This was symbolized by Honorary Doctorate recipient Robert Davidson’s artwork, Eagle Transforming, which decorated the graduation programs. Musqueam Elder Larry Grant first welcomed graduates, guests, faculty, and staff. This was followed by a prayer of welcome and thanks which was offered by Amanda Fox on behalf of the graduating NITEP students. Keynote speaker Lester Irabinna Rigney, visiting professor from Flinders University in Australia, spoke of the transformative place in his culture where fresh water and salt water meet. This reminded participants of the global importance of Indigenous knowledge and experience. Graduates Otis Jasper and Karrmen Crey then inspired and challenged all with their tenacious and resilient words of strength. Many thanks to all the staff, helpers, and volunteers who continue to build on the special tradition of the Aboriginal graduation ceremony each year!
There were a total of eighty-two Aboriginal graduates from the Fall/Winter 2006 and Spring 2007 semesters who were introduced by distinguished representatives from each faculty and program. Congratulations to all the graduates, their families, and their communities. We look forward to their continued good work and to seeing them again at the FNHL Longhouse, perhaps at future graduations to support family and friends, or perhaps to honour their next degree!