June 13, 2016 – On Saturday, May 28th, at the UBC First Nations Longhouse, 40 Aboriginal grads out of over 170 overall celebrated with family, friends and supporters the successful completion of their programs.
Below is a video record of the event, taken from the live webcast that day.
This year’s celebration included a keynote address by UBC Honorary Degree recipient, Dr. Mary Simon, O.C., who spoke encouragingly on the matter of reconciliation, specifically that today’s graduates are a “new generation of voices that will make a difference on issues like reconciliation” (begins at 32:00 min).
She also recalled her work with other Indigenous leaders negotiating section 35 of the country’s constitution — “it took many tears and hard work” — and how the rights recognized and protected therein is the way of the future.
The graduating student speaker was Laura Ann Cranmer, Qiχƛala, ‘Namgis/Haida, PhD in Language and Literary Education, who gave an eloquent account of her efforts to achieve her doctorate, motivated she said by her attempt “to make personal meaning out of the on-going impact of our colonial history” (begins at 1:35:40 min).
To those students currently working to succeed themselves, in particular when it comes to finding support in a large institution like UBC, including the value of a positive attitude, she offered her wisdom.
“Locating supports within these large institutions is not difficult but breaking out of self-imposed isolation can be a deeply personal barrier. Be open and curious, alive to your passions and alive to what feeds you creatively and spiritually. Nurture these aspects of your work. Find the humor in even the most humorless situations. Levity lightens the unseen burdens. Turn down the volume on your internal critic since there are enough of our own astute (and not so astute) critics in our own communities. We don’t need to add to the chorus.”
The celebration ended with lunch and a customary graduation cake.
Page Modified: June 24, 2016