By Lisa Gregoire

Being Indigenous on a university campus can feel foreign. A lot of instructors and fellow students don’t understand you or the place you come from, or the things you’ve faced in life: racism, discrimination, powerlessness, suicide.

If you’re an Inuk, like Aliqa Illauq, then you’re a minority within a minority meaning it’s even more seldom you hear your mother tongue, Inuktitut, or see your culture represented on campus.

But then something happens to make you feel like you belong and gives you hope.

Aliqa Illauq

Illauq, a fourth-year Carleton student with a double major in Law and Human Rights, and a minor in Indigenous and Canadian Studies, was taking a course from Prof. Patrizia Gentile last year when sovereignty came up, with specific reference to Inuit self-determination. Illauq went to see Gentile afterward, to share Inuit knowledge that had been passed down to her.

“She was completely open to everything I was saying,” Illauq said.

“I will never forget it, sitting there in her office. She didn’t even ask for proof, and she’s a professor. She just listened. After that, she changed her class based on our conversation.”

As the course unfolded, three female non-Indigenous classmates began to delve into the history of Gordon Robertson, after whom Carleton’s Robertson Hall is named. Robertson, a former Carleton chancellor, served as clerk of the federal Privy Council and commissioner of the Northwest Territories.

Read full story in the Carleton Newsroom…

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in , ,
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