Recognising Aboriginal Role Models At Convocation

Every year, the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC), on behalf of the university, the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University (ACQU) and the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, presents graduating self-identified Aboriginal students with special gifts during their convocation ceremonies (Spring and Fall).

Student with the Creation Turtle blanketAboriginal students face many barriers and challenges while attending post-secondary institutions.  Culture differences, retention and transition issues, and low high school and university graduation rates are just a few obstacles they have to overcome. It is imperative to acknowledge and recognize these students as potential role models for young Aboriginal students who wish to pursue further education.  

In honour of their accomplishments as Aboriginal graduates, they are gifted with a Creation Turtle Pendleton Blanket.

The Creation Turtle blanket was selected because the animal plays a role in many Aboriginal cultures, representing Mother Earth/Turtle Island. Following convocation the Aboriginal graduates are invited back to FDASC to put their handprint on the canvass wall hangings, along with their name, program, year of graduation and community, leaving their mark on Queen’s in perpetuity.

“As a graduate of ATEP 2012, I felt very honoured to receive a blanket at convocation.  To be recognised as an Anishinaabe at such a formal event was a great honour, the experience moved me to tears.  This is a tradition I hope will continue, one that will assist Anishinaabe people to be proud graduates in the future,” says Tracy Kabatay, Seine River First Nation, Artsci/Ed’12.