FNUV: Thank You

image: Emily Wright

image: Emily Wright

Article: Richard Jensen – Contributor

My two favorite places in Regina are Leibel Field, where the Regina Minor Football League plays their games, I coach for a bantam level team, and the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv). In a symmetry I find beautiful I am able to see each place from the other. And as football was life changing for me as a teen, the FNUniv has changed my life as an adult. For ten years, First Nations University has brought culture and academia together in one of Regina’s, if not the country’s, most beautiful buildings and created a community that is both unique and supportive. Few places could encompass the work that FNUniv does every day and it is evident in the people who work there. People who come to a special place and do incredible work changing lives and altering the world we live in.

To paraphrase Dr. Blair Stonechild, FNUniv’s longest serving faculty member and head of the building committee that planned and raised the funds for the Regina Campus, if you have an organization with a unique vision, then it deserves to be housed in a unique building. FNUniv’s mission is to bring post-secondary education to the public in a manner that reflects the cultural teachings of Aboriginal people of Canada. The university does this in a building that is reflective of that mission. I honestly cannot talk about one without the other being a part of the explanation. The entire set up of the building, the high open spaces, the curving walls, the ceremonial tipi, the art, and the people all add up in layers that speak of one overriding theme: community. It is the community that makes FNUniv such a special place.

Every day I walk into our Regina Campus, I am greeted with students, faculty, and staff who are all dedicated to doing everything they can to fulfill the mission of the university in their own way. Students learning the traditions of various Aboriginal people alongside the academic pursuits of any other university, staff working to provide support and resources for those students and faculty, facilitating the everyday workings of a post-secondary institution. Faculty teaching their students at every opportunity, speaking with them outside of class to answer any questions and provide every resource possible, Elders happy to sit with students to discuss their problems and provide stories and wisdom with the offering of tobacco. Having walked all of these paths, I feel blessed by Creation to learn and work among these very dedicated people. And it all adds up to a community that is a vibrant, living thing unto itself that brings everyone together to create a sense of home and support that grows and nurtures all who are a part of it.

Feel free to consider this a long way of saying thank you. Thank you to an institution that has not only allowed me to pursue a path of knowledge and knowing that is not possible anywhere else but has also encouraged and rewarded me for finding and walking my path. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who have made FNUniv possible. And thank you to Creation for providing such an incredible place that continues to grow and enrich the world around it.

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