Ojisda Aimy Anderson stood out in the sea of students donning graduation gowns and hoods at fall convocation on Oct. 13.
Anderson was one of nine students donning traditional regalia instead. She was part of the first group of graduates from two programs offered by the Faculty of Education’s Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education.
“At Brock University, we acknowledge that we share this land with Aboriginal peoples,” University President Jack Lightstone said.
Philip Davis offered an honour song and elder Walter Cooke did an invocation to start the milestone ceremony.
Four of the nine graduates were from the Gidayaamin Aboriginal Women’s Certificate program.
“It has been an honour to watch these four women become more confident in themselves and their abilities as students,” said a proud Jennifer Brant, program co-ordinator. “They worked incredibly hard despite significant challenges along the way and we are very proud of this resilient group of young women.
“We look forward to hearing about their continued success as they transition into new roles within both the University and Aboriginal community.”
The other graduates received their bachelor’s degrees in Aboriginal education. It’s a five-year program designed to serve the educational needs of Nishnawbe-Aski people in the Sioux Lookout district of northwestern Ontario.
“The ‘two-worlds’ partnership between Northern Nishnawbe Education Council and the Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research culminates in Brock University’s graduation of culturally proficient Bachelor of Education degree holders,” said Barry McLoughlin, director of Lifelong Learning with the Northern Nishnawbe Edcuation Council. “Graduates, families and community leaders celebrate the individual student accomplishments and collective cultural strengthening of Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree schools across the northwestern Ontario region of Nishnawbe Aski Nation.”