College of New Caledonia marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Reflection
Marlene Erickson is Executive Director of Aboriginal Education at CNC. She is Nak'azdli Whut’en and a member of the Lusilyoo (Frog) Clan.
In marking National Indigenous Peoples Day tomorrow, I hope many will take the opportunity to reflect and consider how education can help us on the path of reconciliation.
The recent discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former residential school on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation has led many of us to pause and consider the impact these facilities had and continue to have on so many people.
The discovery has brought renewed grief to many. It has highlighted how residential schools have affected not only survivors but also generations of family members.
I know many have asked what they can do to take positive steps towards reconciliation. I continue to believe education and awareness are important ways forward.
I encourage you to read some comments from my colleagues on steps you can personally take, and ways to learn more.
While this is a deeply reflective time, I am also honoured to celebrate Indigenous students in the CNC community. During our most recent convocation, Ty Cahoose of the Lhtako Dene First Nation was honoured with the Mary John Award of Excellence. Ty received his carpenter foundation certificate.
Ty was recognized as a role model who exemplifies the values of Mary John in numerous ways. Ty has reached out to other students to provide help and encouragement and is always willing to build bridges between cultures. Ty has attended many community events and has been determined to contribute to improving the lives of his family, particularly his beloved grandmother, and his community.
I believe the path to reconciliation will include a strong role for education… not only for institutions but for all of us as individuals. I also hope that the path will include opportunities for Indigenous students to achieve their goals, and for us to celebrate their accomplishments together.