John Moses (Six Nations Delaware Band)

PhD Student, Comparative Studies in Literature Art and Culture

For most students, having an academic career span over four decades would seem like an incredibly daunting task, however, for John Moses it has been exactly what he has wanted and needed.

Moses, a member of the Six Nations Delaware Band, has been pursuing post-secondary education since he was a teenager in the 1980’s. Today, at 50 years old, John is proud of his accomplishments and pursuit of a doctoral degree in cultural studies. Like many Indigenous students John has a family, is a spouse and also holds down a full time job. With everything on his plate, John has pursued his education primarily through part time studies. John credits his place of work (a federal government department), the Carleton community itself, his professors and his family as being incredibly supportive of his educational goals. “Being able to stick with it over the decades is my proudest accomplishment,” says Moses. “I am just as enthusiastic now as I was when I first started this journey.”

Moses has seen many accomplishments throughout the years, with one of the most prominent having been awarded a Senate Medal upon completing his undergraduate studies at Carleton. It was precisely the acknowledgement he needed to keep going with his studies. What is more, his studies have provided numerous opportunities to work in museums dealing specifically with Indigenous content and exhibitions – from the National Museum of the American Indian (when it was located in NYC) to the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, John has been able to put his skills – and passion – to use. John also notes that he specifically chose Carleton for its flexibility of programming which allowed him to blend his practical experience and life passion with his academic pursuits.

As a lifelong student, John has noticed the climate change on campus. When he first started, an Indigenous presence was certainly lacking, but today, he is proud to see how many Indigenous students are pursuing post-secondary degrees. He is also impressed with the amount of activism taking place on campus. Although he may not consider himself a role model, CII certainly does. It is through the stories, successes and accomplishments of students such as John, that emerging leaders will have a canon of knowledge to draw upon in their own pursuits.

John’s dreams don’t end when his doctoral degree does. He plans to set up an Indigenous heritage consulting firm when he “retires” from university and the federal public service. With the “intellectual flexibility” and experiences gained throughout the years at Carleton, John plans to bring his knowledge back to the communities that matter the most to him – his own.