How TRU paid tribute to the annual Indigenous Awareness Week

For the week of March 4 to 13, TRU and the Office of Indigenous Education aimed to honour its first house, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, with fun, interactive events where students could learn about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit topics.

These events were hosted in partnership with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, Elders, local Indigenous community members, students and colleagues from across the university. Here are the events you might have missed:

Honouring Chancellor Nathan Matthew

A two-hour event kicked off the Indigenous Awareness Week in the House of Learning. It began with a welcome song and dance and featured several community members who shared their stories about the outgoing chancellor. Matthew, a member of the Simpcw First Nation, has served two terms as TRU’s chancellor, beginning in 2018.

The evening’s celebrations concluded with a song honouring Matthew, who was presented with a traditional blanket symbolizing the Indigenous communities around Kamloops.

Honouring our Elders Luncheon

On March 5, a special luncheon was hosted at the Campus Activity Centre Grand Hall to honour Indigenous Elders from Kamloops and the surrounding communities. Those in attendance enjoyed delicious food, welcome conversation, and the music stylings of Jeremy Kneeshaw from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.

Powwow Night. 

Later that evening, guests were invited back to the Grand Hall for the first of two special Powwows. This event welcomed the TRU community to enjoy a showcase of Indigenous culture through dance, music, and food. The second Powwow, honouring Indigenous children, occurred on March 11 in TRU’s Old Gym.

Red Dress Beading Series

The first two Red Dress beading series sessions took place on Feb. 28 and March 6.  

These workshops are meant to honour the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit persons. Participants learned the traditional art of beading by creating red dresses. This event was hosted by Doe Thomas, a member of the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc (TteS) band, and Dory Laboucane, Aboriginal Transition Planner at TRU.

Métis Social Night 

House 5 hosted the social evening aimed to celebrate Métis culture on March 6. During the social, attendees drank tea, ate bannock and partook in lively conversation. Training and career counsellors attended the event to speak with young Indigenous students. The Métis Nation of BC (MNBC) had an information booth ready to answer all questions regarding career paths. 

Knowledge Makers Presentation

On March 7, the OLARA building hosted the Knowledge Makers for their presentation. Guests learned about the program and listened to the experiences of fellow students. Attendees also viewed the special edition publication of the Knowledge Makers Journal in honour of Indigenous Awareness Week. 

Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot

The Faculty of Law was selected to host the 2024 Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Moot. It took place on March 8 and 9. This mock trial was a consensus-based, non-adversarial moot incorporating Indigenous legal traditions alongside federal, provincial and international law. Each year, a different university hosts the moot and welcomes law students from nearly every law faculty across Canada.

Secwepemc Language and Lunch

The week concluded with a workshop on basic Secwepemc words and phrases on March 8. It was presented by Mary Sandy from the T’éxelc area of Secwepemcúl’ecw (Williams Lake). For two hours, attendees learned easy expressions that helped them connect with the Indigenous community on campus. While students may have missed these events, TRU Indigenous Education often hosts new workshops and conferences for students wanting to connect more with the university’s Indigenous community. More information can be found on the TRU Indigenous website.