By Shirley Honyust/ Yenatli:yo
LONDON – The First Nations Studies (FNS) Major Program at Fanshawe College will now receive recognition as a university credit towards First Nations Studies degree at Western University.
The ^Yesalihuni (They will teach you) Program has been added to the FNS Studies at Fanshawe College and it is now in its third year. ^Yesalihuni, traditional teachings and knowledge, has been fundamental to enhancing the credibility and authenticity of the First Nations Studies Major at Fanshawe. This section of the program has been delivered by a roster of traditional knowledge keepers from Southwestern Ontario, hosted through the venue of N`Amerind Friendship Centre in London where, bi-weekly lectures have been delivered to FNS students, with community members invited to attend and participate in learning about the histories and culture of these communities.
Signing of the Agreement of Articulation took place after a mini-pow wow between Peter Devlin, President of Fanshawe College and John Doerksen, Vice Provost of Academics at Western University. Their signatures were witnessed by Bruce Elijah, from Oneida of the Thames.
Jessica Ford, Coordinator of First Nations Services said “this is what the communities said they wanted and this is what Fanshawe delivered”. First Nations Studies Students also gave testimonials about their experiences with the Program and the impact that it had on them.
Ford included in her words appreciation and thanks to the Trillium Fund who provided financial backing for the ^Yesalihuni Program, and to N`Amerind Friendship Centre for hosting the lectures at their facility.
Eagle Feathers were presented by Ford to the students to recognize the work they are doing for themselves in their educational journey; the feathers being from a hawk that she found, adding that “in this way you are all connected to each other”.