Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 2, November 2011

Elders bring cultural wisdom to SFU campuses
Condensed by Native Village

British Columbia, Canada: A new program at Simon Fraser University is bringing First Nations elders to campus. The elders will to share their cultural wisdom, expertise, and life experiences with SFU and its students.

"Elders are a key cornerstone of first nations societies," said William Lindsay from the school's Office for Aboriginal Peoples. "Aboriginal people have always had the tradition of elders guiding their societies. This is sort of a continuation of that."

Margaret George (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), Jim White (Heiltsuk Nation), and Evelyn Locker (Blackfoot Nation) have already begun one-on-one sessions with students. to campus. They're striving to:

Elders Program

Support and mentor First Nations and other students;
Be involved in efforts to help university staff understand aboriginal life and culture;
Draw upon their traditions to help students, faculty and staff deal with modern life;
Supervise culturally oriented courses and workshops;
Provide language support;
Help make SFU more inclusive and aboriginal-friendly;
Improve recruitment, retention and successful participation of aboriginal students at SFU.

"Students have been coming in, asking all kinds of questions," said George.  "Many come from different areas and want to learn about the community here, become involved with it."

She said Simon Frazier's program is important.  It gives Aboriginal youth positive role models and encourages them to join the wider community AND remain grounded in traditional values.

International students are also seeking guidance, George said.

"There are so many cultures where close-knit communities are the norm. These [international] students are living so far away from home; they miss their families and often just need to talk to someone face to face."

About 496 self-identified aboriginal students attended SFU during the 2010-11 term.

Aboriginal Programs and Services at Simon Frasier University
Indigenous Student Centre

First Nations Student Association

First Nations Studies Program

First Nations Language Program

Indigenous Education Programs
Faculty of Business Programs

Aboriginal Pre-University Bridging Programs

Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement Programs (SAGE)

Aboriginal Transitions Project: Undergraduate to Graduate
Information for Graduate Students

Career Services

Library Services for Aboriginal Students

Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

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