Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre
Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Aboriginal student self-identification?
Aboriginal student self-identification at Queen’s is a voluntary process which provides students with Aboriginal ancestry the opportunity to explore their ancestry and connect with the Aboriginal community at Queen’s.
You do not have to provide proof of ancestry.
Students with Aboriginal ancestry who are enrolled at Queen’s now have the chance let the university know how many Aboriginal students we have enrolled at Queen’s. This information, collected in aggregate*, will allow Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC) and Queen’s University to evaluate our current programming and success services and make necessary changes according to the needs of our Aboriginal student body.
The process also gives Aboriginal students the opportunity to request direct access to information on programs and services to ensure their success at Queen’s. Question 2 on the form gives students the opportunity to request being contacted by an Aboriginal student support staff who can provide you with more information on success services, cultural programming, news and events, and/or scholarship opportunities.
You will not be contacted unless you respond “yes” to Question 2.
The questions can be accessed online through your student Queen’s Centre account (SOLUS). It can be updated at any point during your time as a student at Queen’s University.
This process is completely voluntary and any information provided will be kept confidential.
Who can self-identify as an Aboriginal student?
Any student enrolled at Queen’s University who has Aboriginal ancestry. This includes students with First Nations (Status AND Non-Status), Metis, and Inuit background. Students with Native American ancestry are also encouraged to self-identify.
Many students at Queen’s are aware of their Aboriginal ancestry but are unaware of their Nation or community. Often, these students believe that they do not have the right to self-identify. This is not true. All students with Aboriginal ancestry have the ability and the right to self-identify. You always have the right to explore this part of your heritage.
If you are still unsure about whether or not you should fill out the information, please contact 4direct@queensu.ca, you will be directed with the appropriate staff member at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.
Do I have to prove my ancestry?
You DO NOT have to prove your Aboriginal ancestry. This process is 100% voluntary and we are not asking you to provide any documentation to prove your ancestry.
However, it is important to note that:
• Specific bursaries and scholarships that you apply for may require proof of ancestry.
• If you are applying to Queen’s through the Aboriginal Admissions Policy, you will be asked to provide proof of ancestry.
• Filling out this information does not give you automatic access to success services, you will need to request to be contacted by an Aboriginal staff member who can provide you with more information.
How does self-identifying benefit me?
The self-identification process helps strengthen the Indigenous presence here at Queen’s University. This also allows the University to identify gaps in policies, programs, services and initiatives that could be enhanced for your benefit. Self-identifying could also allow an Aboriginal student success staff member to reach out to you so that you can learn more about opportunities at Queen’s for you to optimize your time here.
• A chance to make connections with other Indigenous students
• Opportunities to make connections within the Indigenous community within Queen’s and Kingston
• A chance to practice and learn more about your cultural identity
• Increased access to student success services (ie. Peer Helper Program, Cultural programming, Student Success Strategist)
• Improved funding supports for learners and services (ie. Awards, bursaries and scholarships, Student Awards)
• Faculty-specific programming and services (ie. Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Medical and Law School students
• Academic success opportunities
Didn’t I self-identify when I applied to university?
1) Applying through OUAC (Undergraduate)
You may have noticed on the OUAC application form has an option for you to declare yourself as First Nations, Inuit or Métis. However, this information is not saved nor stored in your SOLUS account. Your self-declaration on OUAC is also only collected when you apply to university. The Queen’s University Aboriginal Self-Identification tool in SOLUS allows students to self-identify at any point during their time as a student at Queen’s.
2) Applying through Queen’s Aboriginal Admissions Policy (Undergraduate)
When you applied to Queen’s University, you may have applied through our Aboriginal Admissions Policy. Similar to the OUAC, this information is not stored in SOLUS. This also only applies to those who applied to Queen’s through the Aboriginal Admissions Policy. The Aboriginal Self-Identification tool in SOLUS allows students to self-identify at any point during their time as a student at Queen’s, whether you applied through the Aboriginal Admissions Policy or not.
3) Identifying yourself as an Aboriginal student through SOLUS
The information you provide in SOLUS will be stored internally and electronically in your SOLUS account. This information will be stored with your other personal information (name, address, contact information, etc.). You have the option to update any and all answers to the Aboriginal Self-Identification questions at any point during your time as a student at Queen’s.
I do not really feel connected to my Aboriginal ancestry, do I have the right to identify?
Absolutely! This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your heritage and culture. Many students at Queen’s, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students come to Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre to learn more about and practice different aspects of Indigenous cultures.
Why is Queen’s University asking me to self-identify?
Right now, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre only gets its information regarding Aboriginal student enrolment based on Ontario Universities Application Center self-declaration and Queen’s Aboriginal Admission Policy. Some students also walk in and self-identify to the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre when they are looking for advisement. To enhance programming and services provided to Aboriginal students, Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre needs accurate data regarding the Aboriginal student population at Queen’s.
Who will see this information and what will they see?
Vanessa McCourt, the Aboriginal Advisor at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and select staff at the Office of the University Registrar will have access to this information.
The only time that your name will be attached to your self-identification information is if you answer “yes” to Question 2. If you do not wish to be contacted by a staff member, then your information will be used for reporting purposes only. Your information will be collected in large numbers without your name attached to it, along with other students who complete the information.
How will this information be used and protected? (What happens to my information?)
Information used for reporting purposes will be used in aggregate, this means that unless you indicate that you would like to be contacted in Question 2, your name will not be attached to any of the other information you provide. Your name will not be attached in any reports to the government or university departments. If you have any concerns, your rights can be found in the following documents:
• Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act (FIPPA)
• Queen’s Records Management Policy
• SOLUS notice of collection
Although our main focus it to connect Aboriginal students with the rest of the Indigenous community at Queen’s, the information will also be used in aggregate by the university to complete reporting to the government. The numbers will also inform in the re-evaluation of programming and services currently provided in hopes of better serving the needs of Indigenous students.
How do I change my information?
You can go in and update your information at any time during your time as a student at Queen’s. When you reach the page, you can go in and change or add to the information, but remember to select “save and exit” when you are finished.
How often do I have to do this?
The information you provide will be saved to your SOLUS account throughout your time as a student at Queen’s. However, we ask that students review their self-identification information at least once a year to ensure that the information is accurate.
What happens once I fill out the self-identification questions?
The Aboriginal Self-Identification mechanism gives you the option to choose whether or not you would like to be contacted by a staff at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.
What happens if I select “Yes”?
If you select yes, you will automatically receive an email to confirm your completion of the questionnaire. You will be contacted within the next few weeks by a staff member at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. If you wish to get in touch with the Centre immediately feel free to contact the centre.
What happens if I select “No”?
If you choose not to be contacted by an Aboriginal program staff, and are finished completing the information, then
Can I still access programs and services, as well as attend events at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre if I choose not to identify?
Definitely. Anyone can come to Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, we have a mix of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, and community members come out to our events. Our programs are a great way to learn more about different Aboriginal cultures. There is always room for you in our community, whether you choose to self-identify to the university or not. We understand that the process of self-identification is that, a process. Everybody is different in their comfortability and knowledge of their heritage.
Do I have to be involved with Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre if I identify?
No. There is an option question where you can choose to not to be contacted by an Aboriginal student support staff. This means that your information will only be used in aggregate for reporting purposes and if you wish, you can visit the Centre whenever you are ready. We strongly encourage all Aboriginal students to come check out the Centre, meet the staff, and use our services.
Who do I get in contact with if I have more questions about this process?
If you have questions that were not presented on this FAQ page or if you need help navigating the Aboriginal Self-Identification page in SOLUS please contact Vanessa McCourt, the Aboriginal Advisor at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, at mccourtv@queensu.ca or at (613) 533-6823.

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