St. Francis Xavier College launched a brand new Indigenous Pupil Centre beneath the title “Kiknu” — that means “our residence.”
Positioned in Dennis Corridor within the Coady Institute, the centre and its new title have been unveiled in a Friday ceremony.
“’Kiknu’ simply appeared applicable as a result of it truly is a home-away-from-home for lots of those college students who reside on campus,” says Michelle Sylliboy, an assistant professor on the St. FX artwork division.
She says all college students ought to have a secure house on campus.
“All Indigenous college students need a sense of belonging in giant establishments… particularly after they’re of their residence away from residence.”
Sylliboy, of We’koqmaq First Nation, mentioned with the group and Mi’kmaw Elders on what to call the brand new pupil centre.
“They want that house that permits them to really feel comfy and supported and likewise acknowledged for who they’re as Indigenous individuals on campus.”
Fifth-year political science pupil Jeneva Dennis says the centre means quite a bit to her.
“It offers me a way of belonging and luxury,” she says.
Whereas there has at all times been an Indigenous Pupil Centre on the college, it by no means had a reputation or an area designated simply to Indigenous college students.
“We was once mixed in a single spot with the African descent pupil advisor, the Indigenous pupil advisor and the LGBTQ pupil advisor. We had this one little nook… and it was type of all of our spot,” Dennis says.
“We’ve had a dream to have a much bigger centre, we wished our personal spot, and we lastly acquired it.”
“It’s a very nice house; there’s couches, TVs and Macs,” Dennis says.
An area like that is particularly helpful because the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Dennis says campus school rooms need to be booked prematurely, however Kiknu will likely be out there every time requested.
“I’m taking 5 programs proper now and it’s hectic as a single mum or dad of two. Simply having my very own time, I’ll make the most of having the centre and having the ability to do my research there.”
“It’s simply one thing that’s wanted. It’s so exhausting already being an Indigenous (pupil).”
With Antigonish being an hour away from Dennis’ residence in Potlotek First Nation reserve, she says the Indigenous Pupil Heart was at all times an area the place she will really feel comfy.
“I felt alone in my first yr trigger I moved out of my reserve that I’ve lived on all my life and I used to be a single mum or dad. My daughter was 10 months outdated and I didn’t know anybody right here,” Dennis says.
“The Indigenous Pupil Centre simply made life slightly simpler, simply discovering folks that had youngsters, or simply somebody to speak to.”
St. FX pupil says new Indigenous Pupil Centre makes her really feel at residence
The brand new-and-improved Kiknu gained’t solely be used as a examine and useful resource house, but in addition as a centre the place Indigenous college students can study and observe Mi’kmaw tradition.
“We study cultural teachings like beadwork, we’re studying to make moccasins, we learn to do medication pouches.”
“I like that we’ve that,” Dennis says, including that it’s a spot the place she will deliver her youngsters as nicely.
“I’m truly capable of train my tradition, I’m capable of do issues inside my tradition on campus as nicely.”
The centre is planning a drum-making session quickly, she says.
Sylliboy says Kiknu will likely be an area for her to go to as nicely.
“As the one Mi’kmaw college at St. FX, it at all times good to be round different Indigenous individuals, who perceive the place you’re coming from.”
Sylliboy mentioned with fun that if she is invited, she is going to fortunately take part in cultural occasions on the centre.
The brand new centre is a vital a part of reconciliation between a big establishment and First Nations college students, she says.
Michelle Sylliboy grateful for brand new Indigenous Pupil Centre at St. FX
“These seem to be small steps however it’s greater within the long-term.
“It opens up extra doorways of having the ability to talk with college and employees.”
“It’s actually superb when one thing like this occurs and is out there and it’s accessible, it actually opens up new dialogues.”
Dennis says it’s vital to her to really feel included.
“I really feel vital having that spot. I really feel a way of delight, it’s fairly cool as being Mi’kmaw.”
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