Aboriginal centre planned for LU
Rachel Mishenene, a role model with teaching experience in elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels, encouraged other students to pursue their education goals.
Lakehead University has plans to build a new Kendaasiwin Centre on the site of the oldest residence building on campus.
“The Ogimaawin Aboriginal Management Council has a dream ... and that is to build a special building called the Kendaasiwin Centre,” said LU president and vice-chancellor Brian Stevenson during the LU Aboriginal Student Orientation on Sept. 11. “That will be a building for Aboriginal people and it will be a building for non-Aboriginal people to learn about our history, culture, language, art and to hold our archives of our culture in the north, particularly the archives of all the First Nations and Métis communities.”
Stevenson encouraged First Nations, Métis and Inuit people to attend LU, noting they are the future of the province and country.
“When you come to Lakehead University, you come to a place where you are not only welcome, you are vital to us and to our life,” Stevenson said. “We have over 1,200 self-identified Aboriginal students — that is one of the highest rates in the country. But it’s not enough. I want more and more Aboriginal students to come.”
Stevenson said he wants Aboriginal students to feel comfortable while at LU.
“You start a journey with Lakehead today, and it is a journey that will last a lifetime, not only the next four years or six years,” Stevenson said. “You are going to be leaders, you are going to be mentors, you are going to show the way to a whole generation of young children.”
Stevenson noted that Aboriginal people have the highest growth rate in the country.
“They need to be sitting where you are sitting in five years and 10 years and 20 years and 30 years,” Stevenson said. “It’s only going to happen if we do it together.”
Mishkeegogamang’s Rachel Mishenene, a Nanabijou Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement role model with teaching experience in elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels, also encouraged students to pursue their education goals. She has already earned a diploma in Aboriginal Law and Advocacy, a bachelor of arts and a masters in education and is working towards a doctorate in education.
“It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be a lot of work. But it’s going to be a lot of good work, work that will help you on your journey.”
Mishenene also encouraged students to follow the seven teachings during their post-secondary education years.
“Live with love; love yourself and take care of your body, mind and spirit,” Mishenene said.
“Live with courage. When you feel that times are tough and you are afraid, look within yourself and honour your heart by doing the right thing for yourself and for others.”
“Live with wisdom. Know that we are born with gifts and that through these gifts we share, we learn from each other.”
“Live with honesty. Be honest with yourself and know that your true colours that lie within you are yours and that which you make.”
“Live with truth. Learn from your mistakes and from the hardships of others. Be yourself wherever you are and speak the truth that comes from your heart.”
“Live with respect. We are the children of this earth and we are descendants of a strong nation of people. Always do what is good for you, your people and our earth.”
“Live with humility. We are all equal in many ways, but our life’s journeys and gifts are diverse and unique. Share your stories and your gifts with others and know that we are all equal.”
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