Rupert Richardson

NITEP Elementary (2011)


Rupert Richardsoni would like to start by acknowledging, that as a visiting student at ubc, i’m a guest on the traditional unceded territory of the musqueam people     i’ve been welcomed here by musqueam elder larry grant     i come from the guskimukw, nuxalk, chippewa, and norwegian nations

i intend to voice myself using orality the traditional way my people communicated our history and ways of being   the purpose of my writing style follows stl’atl’imx scholar dr peter cole     this begins decolonizing/re-indigenizing my scholarship and follows the oral traditions of my people     although this piece is in text format     my hope is for it to become less structured so as to allow my ideas and words to flow in an u n c o n f i n e d manner     this portrays my experiences as an indigenous scholar using the oral traditions and shows other forms of expression as valid in a western institution

my time at ubc in the native teacher indian education program (nitep) and the two year elementary b ed program has come with many challenges, laughs, tears and successes     i am extremely thankful for all of my experiences at ubc as they have helped in my development as a whole human being     i have met exceptional, now, lifelong friends and mentors as i walk the path of education, for myself and my people

highlights pertaining to nitep include the community atmosphere that is created by my nitep FAMILY     the challenges that i have experienced in ubc and nitep have been met with laughter, encouragement, food, and friendship     each of these are especially synonymous with the nitep program starting with the leadership and making its way down the line to the student body and the indigenous community in ubc and vancouver     now i’ll acknowledge dr lee brown as one of my mentors at ubc … he’s taught me that the essence of true leadership is service to the people     i’ve also learned that it’s through our struggles that we develop our gifts, so for each challenge i am extremely grateful

one of the my biggest challenges with ubc is that it is ‘a place of mind’     my hopes are one day ubc becomes a place of mind, body, heart, and spirit

each year for graduation, the first nations house of learning holds a graduation ceremony that is open for all first nations, inuit, and metis students      for last year’s indigenous graduation i was selected as the 2011 valedictorian by my peers and it was an honour and privilege to be able to speak on behalf of such courageous people     i don’t know which english word would capture the sincere gratitude and honour that i felt walking through the ceremonial graduation doors of the longhouse that day     it was only two generations ago that it was illegal for an ‘first nations’ person to attend post secondary     i am the first person in my family to get at university degree     changes are happening for my family and within ubc     i’m happy to report that as of september 2012 there will be a mandatory course in indigenous education for all student in faculty of education     if it wasn’t for my time at ubc, especially the learning opportunities i had through nitep, i wouldn’t have had the ‘awakening’ that has inspired me to create change for all people in canada, especially the bakwum’s(what we refer to ourselves in kwakwala)

i’m happy to report this as a ubc graduate student in the faculty of education in the department of education studies     i’m currently working with the college of health disciplines and the institute of aboriginal health to create curriculum that validates and acknowledges indigenous traditional knowledge for ubc undergraduate students going into health and human service careers     i am not certain where my path will lead me but i am keeping an open mind, heart, spirit and body     here is to lifelong learning

ikesla rupert richardson