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Debwendizon Aboriginal Youth Education Gathering


Nipissing University’s Office of Aboriginal Initiatives recently hosted its fourth Debwendizon Aboriginal Youth Education Gathering, on Tuesday, November 24.

Debwendizon welcomes Aboriginal secondary students to campus from local and regional communities to connect with current Aboriginal students, staff and faculty and to engage in experiential learning opportunities. Attending the event were 74 Aboriginal youth, travelling from Moose Factory, Wikwemikong, M’Chigeeng, Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard and Timmins accompanied by guidance counselors, teachers, Aboriginal support workers and representatives of their school boards.  In addition, local youth attended from Nbisiing Secondary School, West Ferris Secondary School and Widdifield Secondary School.

During Debwendizon, eleven Aboriginal university students volunteered  to participated in sessions and enriched the experience of the youth on campus as they shared their knowledge of student life at Nipissing.

Nipissing’s Education, Nursing, Criminal Justice and Physical Health and Education departments hosted dynamic hands-on learning opportunities in clinical classrooms, laboratories and in the Robert J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre.

A highlight of the event was a concert with Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, with an opening performance by Nipissing University alumnus, Dayna Ball. Ball  performed three songs and shared stories of moving from her home community of Timiskaming First Nation to Nipissing University and her decision to return to her home community as an elementary teacher.  Waln, producer and performer, shared his award-winning music and deeply moving stories of learning about Indigenous histories and overcoming intergenerational trauma. Waln, a Gates Millenium Scholar, spoke of the significance of university education in his development as a youth working for social justice and the environment though music.   Waln also welcomed Dakota Heon, current first-year student at Nipissing University, to perform two of his spoken word pieces.

The Office of Aboriginal Initiatives thanks staff and students who volunteered and supported Debwendizon and the Aboriginal youth who visited campus, including academic departments, residence life, athletics and NUSU.​

Nipissing University
100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, ON, Canada  P1B 8L7
Tel: 705.474.3450 | Fax: 705.474.1947 | TTY: 877.688.5507
nuinfo@nipissingu.ca
Brantford Campus
50 Wellington St.
Brantford, ON, Canada N3T 2L6
Tel: 519.752.1524 | Fax: 519.752.8372

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