On Saturday, November 30, the First Nations House of Learning hosted a celebration event at the First Nations Longhouse in honour of Indigenous students graduating as part of the Fall 2019 class. The event saw Indigenous students walking through the ceremonial door into Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall, followed by an honouring ceremony. The act of walking through the ceremonial door, also known as the graduation door, is an important initiation for participating Indigenous students. In doing so, they are seen to transform from student to graduate, whereupon they are recognized and honoured by family, friends and supporters for achieving this status.
The event, which was webcasted live, can be seen in the video recording below.
Keynote Speaker: Shelley Joseph
The keynote speaker for the fall graduation celebration was Shelley Joseph, Public Outreach Lead and Cultural Advisor with Reconciliation Canada. Daughter of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Shelley has over 30 years of experience paired with education covering spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well-being for individuals, families and communities. She is passionate about supporting people to take an active role in healing, growth and reconciliation, utilizing a holistic approach to well-being. She is highly involved in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women initiatives and is the President of the Board of Directors for Circle of Eagles Lodge Society. Shelley is one of the lead facilitators of the Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops and is one of Reconciliation Canada’s inspiring and transformational speakers.
11:00 Graduates enter Sty-Wet-Tan Great Hall
11:10 Musqueam Welcome – Larry Grant
11:15 Welcome to the First Nations Longhouse – Dr. Margaret Moss, Director, First Nations House of Learning
11:20 Honouring Leona Sparrow, Musqueam, UBC Honorary Degree Recipient
11:30 Keynote Address – Shelley Joseph, Reconciliation Canada
11:40 Graduates Presented
12:00 Honour Song
12:05 Graduating Student Speaker
12:10 Closing Remarks – Margaret Moss