University of Calgary


June 15, 2010

University celebrates its Aboriginal graduates

Marie Smallface Marule is the president of the Red Crow College, on the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta.
This year, the University of Calgary is proud to graduate 108 Aboriginal students. The 2010 Aboriginal graduates earned two PhD degrees, 35 masters' degrees, one medical doctorate degree, two bachelor of law degrees and 69 undergraduate bachelor degrees. In addition to their convocation ceremonies, these students were honoured Saturday, June 12 at the 2010 Aboriginal Graduation Banquet & Pow-Wow.

"The banquet and pow-wow gives the university community the opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of our Aboriginal graduates. It's an important celebration for our students as it not only honours them but their families, friends and instructors," says Shawna Cunningham, director of the Native Centre.

Leona Makokis is president of the Blue Quills First Nations College in St. Paul, Alberta.
Photo credit: Riley Brandt
The banquet included a reception, hosted by the First Nations Student Association co-chiefs Melissa Victor and Thomas Snow. During the reception, Métis graduates were recognized by the Metis Nation of Alberta, and were gifted with a traditional Métis sash, presented by Métis Region 3 President Ephram Bouvier to the musical accompaniment of Métis fiddler Dean Malcolm and guitarist John Doiron.

U of C alumnus Barry Brisson acted as the master of ceremony for the banquet, where the Native Centre honoured specific graduates and community members with awards for their academic or community involvement achievements. The following pow-wow included a special gifting ceremony called the "Circle of Honour" for Aboriginal Graduates. Graduates received an Eagle Feather and a Pendleton Saddle Blanket, both traditional gifts, in recognition of their achievements.

In addition to honouring the university’s aboriginal graduates, two Aboriginal women were granted the Honorary Degree Doctor of Laws (honoris causa). Marie Smallface Marule from the Kainai First Nation and Leona Makokis from the Saddle Lake First Nation both received an honorary degree at the convocation ceremony on Monday, June 7.

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