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CBU to Celebrate First Nation Convocation

November 23, 2006

Source: University College of Cape Breton

Cape Breton University will celebrate the success of First Nation students on Saturday, November 25 during a special Convocation in Indian Brook First Nation. The ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Centre, Indian Brook, combining both university and Mi’kmaq traditions. CBU President & Vice-Chancellor John Harker will confer the parchments on the 14 students.

The 2006 CBU graduates from Indian Brook First Nation include Charlene Francis, Gail Francis, Wanda Francis, Carol Howe, Jeanette Howe, Sheri Ann Julian, Amy Maloney, Angela M. Maloney, Eileen Marr, Gregory Marr, Vera Marr, Joanne Robinson, Wilfred Simon and Tabetha Stephens.

The students will receive their Bachelor of Arts (Mi’kmaq) degrees from Cape Breton University. This will be the fifth time a Convocation ceremony has taken place off campus. The first off campus Convocation ceremony was in Wagmatcook, NS in 2004.

In 2003, the Indian Brook First Nation students began their journey of higher learning. Cape Breton University assessed the needs of these students and developed a solution. Individual courses were offered in their home community enabling students to maintain jobs and family commitments. The students took one course every three to six weeks, for ten hours a week, completing 90 credits.

"The students from Indian Brook are a very determined group of individuals, several have been on the Dean’s list consistently," says Lindsay Marshall, Associate Dean of the Mi’kmaq College Institute (MCI). Marshall notes that seven of the 14 students are continuing their education at St. FX University in the Bachelor of Education program and several maintain employment.

Marshall, CBU President John Harker and Doris Maloney, Former Education Director of Indian Brook, will address the graduating class. Chief Alexander MacDonald will deliver closing remarks.

Sharing the spotlight are three siblings, Vera, Greg and Eileen Marr, who will grace the stage at the Indian Brook Convocation. Greg Marr will greet his fellow graduates and guests with salutations during the ceremony. Joanne Robinson has the honor of delivering a speech as Valedictorian in Indian Brook First Nation.

Another graduate, Tabetha Stephens’s has a lot to celebrate. Her dedication to higher learning was tested and proven when she became a mother of two while earning her degree from CBU.

"Presently MCI and CBU are working in We’ko’qma’q, Wagmatcook and Eskasoni delivering courses to First Nation students," comments Marshall. "We are dedicated to delivering educational programs that meet the needs of First Nation communities throughout Nova Scotia."

Last month, CBU held its’ inaugural Fall Convocation at the Membertou First Nation, where Mary-Ellen Googoo was recognized with an honorary degree in recognition of her contribution to Mi’kmaq Education for the last 30 plus years.

A reception will follow this Saturday’s celebration enabling First Nation students to share and celebrate their success with guests, family, friends and loved ones.


Did You Know?
• The Mi’kmaq Resource Centre at CBU has the largest collection of material written about or on the Mi’kmaw people in Canada
• CBU offers an MBA in Community Economic Development with a First Nations

CBU was the first university in Canada to:
• offer a BA Major in Mi’kmaq Studies;
• offer a Bachelor of Science in Western Science and traditional Aboriginal
knowledge (Integrative Science);
• develop a university accredited Certificate Program in Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Preservation; and
• have a tenured Mi’kmaq Studies professor specializing in Mi’kmaq culture and
history who was the first graduate student in Canada to write her MA thesis in
an Aboriginal language (Mi’kmaw).

Kelly Rose
Communications Officer
Tel: (902) 563-1638



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