Anthony Isaac and Wendy Terbasket at Okanagan College for the 10th annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Ceremony photo: contributed

Anthony Isaac and Wendy Terbasket at Okanagan College for the 10th annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Ceremony photo: contributed

Indigenous students recognized at ceremony at Okanagan College

The ceremony recognizes that students are getting an education while holding onto Indigenous background and teachings

The 10th annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Ceremony recognized students, educators and community members at Okanagan College.

“The ceremony is to recognize that these students are getting an education while still holding onto their Indigenous background and teachings,” said Jewell Gillies, Aboriginal transition program advisor.

“There are cultural teachings that we on the coast learn from the Big House that give us a sense of our identity, but we want our students to understand that they can carry that with them while they study here. We want to bring harmony to both places.”

The Big House, in the past, referred to literal big houses that sheltered up to four families of a clan. Today, they house ceremonies, decision-making, and discussions between nations and clans.

“It’s a place where we inherit knowledge from our communities,” said Gillies.

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The ceremony included performances by Metis Jigger, Mary Ouillette, Powwow dancers, Arnold and Deanna Ackachuk, Inuit Throat Singer, Shirley Amguttitairiq, and keynote speakers.

“It’s an honour to be part of recognizing our students’ successes, and it’s equally heartening to see them turn around and acknowledge their instructors, family, friends and community members who have invested in their education,” said Okanagan College President, Jim Hamilton.

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That sense of community and collaboration is something Okanagan College business student Wendy Terbasket said she has experienced during her time at the College. She nominated OC School of Business professor Scott Overland.

“My people are making great strides for the betterment of their future and communities,” said Terbasket.

“Scott has been a great sounding board for my concerns, not only about my post-secondary journey but also about the struggles in my community,” said Terbasket.

Instructors Teresa Proudlove, Laura Jockman, Richard Volk, Adam Craig, Stacey Grimm, Denise Boudreau, Dana Hurtubise, Tracy Riley, Diane Little, Katherine Bonell, and Matthia Vaillancourt were also honoured for going above and beyond for their students.

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