First Nations’ University of Canada struck by graffiti

The spray paint was quickly removed on the same day. Ethan Butterfield

Abusive vandalism appears on outside wall

On Feb. 14, graffiti reading “Fuck You U Deadbeat,” “I Hate You,” and “How Rez is That???” appeared on an outside wall of the First Nations University of Canada. At the time, Public Affairs Strategist for the University of Regina, Everett Dorma, said that the sequence of events as he understood it were that the graffiti was placed overnight and was removed same-day by First Nations University of Canada staff. Due to the timing of the incident, nobody was able to give a comment from First Nations University of Canada or campus security on the day of the incident.

According to Dorma both the Regina Police Service and Campus Security were called once the spray paint was discovered. Neither Dorma nor any of those we spoke to wanted to go as far as calling the incident one that was racist, given that the motive of the incident is unclear. Associate Professor Patricia Elliott, who teaches at FNU, says the vandalism is a clear detriment to students.

“This is such a stressful time of year for students, and to have to deal with this hateful message in the middle of it is just heartbreaking. It’s just incomprehensible to me why somebody would do that to our beautiful building at First Nations University. Indigenous students are already coping with all the fallout over the George Elliott Clarke lecture, and now this happens. I just hope the person who did it is found and held to account.”

“It’s so devastating to see that kind of thing when you’re coming to school in the morning. All I can say is that I’m hoping students can just keep focused on their studies and to not let this ruin their school experience, because what they are doing at the university are great things. I just hope for healing among the students over this assault, because it really was an assault on our students.”

When asked for a comment, social work student Tracie Leost said that the graffiti struck at the core of the community.

“Specifically, as an Indigenous student [with] all that FNU means for us, I think it’s disgusting and incredibly disrespectful that anybody would put something like that on a building and I hope that our larger campus community and our non-indigenous population understand that and we have no clue who did it, but I really hope everyone understands kind of how hurtful that is, how disappointing it is to finally have a place that represents you and your identity and then have people disrespect it.”

Asked previously about the tensions following the Clarke lecture fallout, Dorma pointed back to the campus’ want to protect their property.

“We don’t really know what the motive was for the graffiti person. [It] certainly was not appropriate and, again, we would rather that people didn’t deface our property like that.”

When asked about what steps the campus would be taking to protect marginalized students affected by the incident, Dorma pointed back to Campus Security.

“Well, campus security provides support and their services to First Nations University and they are on site 24/7, and any incidents that are viewed or identified should be reported to campus security.”

When asked whether campus was doing enough to protect marginalized students,  Leost’s initial response spoke volumes.

“Never. I think we need to be actively working, assembling, and working together to ensure that Indigenous students, staff, and community members know that they can feel safe on campus, and when your spaces are disrespected that doesn’t feel safe.”

Provost Tom Chase called the events “Disturbing. Very unfortunate, and very disturbing.” Chase was also asked about how the campus was supporting students in light of this and earlier incidents, including the April, 2019 defacement of two FNU tipis, Chase said he was “unaware” of any previous vandalism issues.

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