KAMLOOPS — A traditional Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc land blessing was held at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) at the site of the future Indigenous Education Centre on Wednesday, August 17.
TRU’s new Indigenous Education Centre will provide an inclusive space where students, faculty and staff can access support and services at TRU and in the community.
The centre will be located at the site of TRU’s Cariboo Child Care Society, which serves the child care needs of TRU students, faculty and staff, as well as off campus families. The society will soon relocate to the new Early Childhood Education Centre on campus.
The ceremony included Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Elder Diena Jules, who guided the blessing, TRU President Brett Fairbairn, TRU Provost and Vice-President Academic Gillian Balfour, Secwépemc Cultural Advisor Garry Gottfriedson, TRU Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Matters Paul Michel and Nisga’a architect Patrick Stewart.
“The Indigenous Education Centre will really be a place of belonging,” says Tina Matthew, executive director of TRU’s Office of Indigenous Education.
“It will be an Indigenous space on campus that brings all Indigenous services together, where everything is centralized, including the Office of Indigenous Education, Qelmúcw student recruiters and the Indigenous Co-op and Internship Program. It will be a place for our Indigenous students, faculty and staff to come together and meet, and for us to share resources with them.”
The project’s planning phase is currently underway with fundraising for construction set to begin shortly.
“The TRU office of Indigenous Education is excited to work with university and Indigenous architect Patrick Stewart on the planning phase of the new Indigenous Education building at the TRU Kamloops campus. The site blessing by a local Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc elder ensures we are following Secwépemc protocols, and we are starting this process in a good and respectful way. TRU is showing its commitment to honouring Truth and Reconciliation to Indigenous students, employees and communities with the planning of a new Indigenous building.”
– Tina Matthew, Executive Director, Office of Indigenous Education
“The planned Indigenous Education Centre is another important step for TRU on the path towards reconciliation. Bringing together students, faculty, and support services in this way will provide a more meaningful and enriching educational and university experience, not only for our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners, but for all in the TRU community. Dedicating resources to an Indigenous Education Centre aligns naturally with commitments TRU has made to honour truth and reconciliation. I look forward to a day when we can gather again to celebrate its opening.” – Brett Fairbairn, TRU President
Kim Van Haren, Communications Content Specialist
University Relations, Thompson Rivers University
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