UVic Torch -- Fall 2004
Autumn 2004,
Volume 25, Number 2

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Indigenous Students Recognition Ceremony - Photography by VINCE KLASSEN Indigenous Students Recognition Ceremony
Photography by VINCE KLASSEN

June 4, Esquimalt Nation Bighouse

Convocation ceremonies had ended hours earlier when, across town, the Esquimalt Nation singers and dancers offered a prayer song for 23 indigenous graduates and their supporters. In the Bighouse, as they shared a meal, late afternoon sunlight filtered through smoke rising from a well-kept fire. Blankets were placed on the soil floor to honour the graduates. Into the evening, each spoke of their accomplishments and their dreams. When it was her turn, Laura Fraser (left, foreground) of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, a new History in Art degree-holder, politely declined to use the microphone. From her heart, she appealed for the protection of ancestral traditions and words. “We need our own speech back, our own methods and knowledge to educate young people in the language of their people. Our elders’ voices are not being heard. I will not stand for it.”


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