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She:kon, Sge:no, Aanii, Welcome
Letter of Welcome from the Academic Director
As the Academic Director of the Indigenous Studies Program, I would like to welcome you to McMaster University. If you are a returning student, I would also like to congratulate you on an already successful year and encourage you to do even better in 2013-14. This year will be an especially exciting time as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Indigenous Studies and will be holding several events to commemorate the occasion, including guest speakers, conferences, and the McMaster First Nation Student’s Association (MFNSA) annual Powwow this September. We hope that you will find the time to attend many of these activities and please keep in mind that we are always looking for help in running these events. It’s a great way to meet new people and gain valuable volunteer experience while contributing to the awareness of Indigenous peoples on campus and beyond.
Along with our 20th anniversary celebrations there are many other exciting things happening in the Program. This past May we officially became part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, which will enhance our administrative and academic counseling support, and we are also working hard to develop our Four-year Degree Program as well as a Graduate Diploma that will give students more options for classes and academic paths. You will also notice construction happening near the Stirling Street entrance to campus as work begins on the new Wilson Building – future home of the Indigenous Studies Program and Indigenous Student Services, coming in September 2015! Throughout all of these important initiatives, our students and Elders have provided valuable input as to what these new courses and office spaces will look like, upholding our long tradition of guidance coming from the Indigenous community on issues concerning our students at McMaster.
With both academically trained instructors and traditional knowledge carriers working with the Indigenous Studies Program, our students benefit from uniquely Indigenous approaches to teaching and learning. Our overall aim is to support all First Nation, Metis and Inuit students as you strive hard to realize your educational goals, and we provide a number of services including an Indigenous Student Counselor, Recruitment and Retention Officer, Program Manager, a student lounge, computer lab, and resource library. If you have additional ideas, please let us know!
We are happy that you will be joining us at McMaster as we move forward during this period of growth and expansion. Please take the time to review this handbook and learn more about the Indigenous Studies Program and Student Services that are available to assist you on campus as well as in the region. Remember that all of the services that you will benefit from this year are a direct result of students like yourself who worked hard to advocate and fundraise for a more welcoming and supportive environment for Indigenous students at McMaster. What will you do to ensure an even better community for Indigenous students here in the future?