Langley’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) has announced that it will now be offering graduation parchments featuring the Indigenous language spoken by the Kwantlen First Nation. The new parchments will feature a blend of English and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (pronounced HUN-kuh-MEE-num), making KPU one of the first universities in Canada to offer this option to students.
Zena Mitchell, associate vice-president of enrolment services and registrar at KPU said the university is making a “meaningful” commitment to reconciliation and recognizing the Kwantlen First Nation,” whose peoples bestowed their name on our university.”
“Through this initiative, we hope to honour the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, support the work led by Indigenous language keepers to revitalize Indigenous languages, and send our graduates off in a good way.”
All KPU graduates in the 2022-23 academic year will receive the new parchments starting with fall grads who will attend convocation ceremonies from Feb. 13 to 17.
Natalie Wood-Wiens, manager of Indigenous services at KPU, first raised the idea of an Indigenous language parchment with Dr. Alan Davis, KPU’s president and vice-chancellor. The university’s Indigenous advisory committee provided advice and supported the idea.
“I’m incredibly excited to have been a part of this initiative at KPU – a step towards reconciliation by acknowledging and honouring Indigenous languages, and timely given this falls within the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. Students who graduate KPU with a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language parchment will now have something that further connects them to the Nations on whose lands the university resides,” said Wood-Wiens, who is Métis and originally from Manitoba.
Fern Gabriel, a member of Kwantlen First Nation and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language teacher with Langley School District, used her expertise to translate the parchment text.
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