Nine Carleton University students were recognized at the ninth annual Indigenous Graduates Honouring Ceremony held on April 29, 2017 at the Museum of History. The Carleton cohort joined approximately 70 graduates from eight universities and colleges.
The annual event celebrates the achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students who are completing post-secondary studies. This year’s ceremony attracted a 300-strong crowd of well-wishers.
Carleton students honoured at the graduation included Liane Chiblow, Chrystal Desilets, Joyce Ford, Michaela Francis, Ashley Grenstone, Kelsey Holness, Alyssa Mark, Kristine McCorkell and Rodney Nelson.
Nelson, a faculty member in Carleton’s Centre for Initiatives in Education and co-ordinator of the Aboriginal Enriched Support Program, was one of two students who graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The other was Zoe Todd, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
The ceremony opened with a grand entry of the graduating students, accompanied by a song by a local First Nations drum group. First Nations, Inuit and Métis Elders then offered opening remarks.
The names of the graduates and their corresponding achievements were read aloud as the honourees crossed the stage and were presented with a certificate and beaded medallion. Afterwards, an honour song was sung.
The ceremony featured valedictorian addresses, as well as remarks from guest speaker Michèle Audette, former president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and a commissioner of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The ceremony concluded with performances by Indigenous hip-hop artist Cody Coyote and hoop dancer, followed by a closing prayer.
Honourees from this year’s ceremony are graduating from an array of post-secondary schools, including Algonquin College, Carleton University, Cégep Heritage College, La Cité, University of Aberdeen, University of Ottawa, Université du Québec en Outaouais and Wilfrid Laurier University.