shé:kon sewakwé:kon! hi everyone!
When I answered a call out to be a blogger for the Graduate Student Society (GSS) here at UBC last fall during my first semester as a brand new graduate student.. I had no idea it would take me until September of the next year to even write my first piece. Ever take on way too much and wonder later what the heck you were thinking?? Yea, I’m sure a few of you are thinking “mmmhmmmm”.
As per protocol I would like to begin by acknowledging that I study, work, and live as an (un)invited visitor on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm or as you may be familiar with, the Musqueam – People of the River Grass.
What does this mean? And why do I say this? And why is it important to know this?
By stating this, I am acknowledging that I am not in the territory of my people, the Kanien’kehá:ka, and that I am visiting on these lands that the Musqueam people have lived on for thousands of years. The land below your feet is rich with history, story, memory, culture, and the very lives of the Musqueam who have called this beautiful place home. When we say unceded, we mean that this land was never surrendered, never sold, never given away. It is nothing short of a privilege to be here and I raise my hands in utmost gratitude to be residing here for part of my journey.
Knowing whose land you travel, live, and work in is incredibly important. You are a part of our shared history in Canada as indigenous people, settlers, and visitors from abroad. I encourage you to engage with the First Nations House of Learning on the Vancouver campus – located in the Longhouse. Many events welcome all students, staff and faculty and this is an excellent way to learn more!
Finally, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Nahannee – pronounced Na-honey and I am of mixed heritage (Kanien’kehá:ka, French Canadian and Dutch). I am starting my second year of my Masters of Arts in the Faculty of Education in the department of Curriculum and Pedagogy. I am interested in how we connect to land, how this shapes our identity, and the language we use to speak about this relationship with the land. In 2013, I completed a double major in Psychology and in Spanish. I looked at Human Rights and Genocide with a global Indigenous focus ranging from Rwanda to Indian Residential Schools.
I also write my own personal blog, teach beading and other cultural arts, and am the vice president of the Indigenous Students Association (InSA) at UBC. I look forward to sharing on various topics from my perspective. Thanks for reading!
Nahannee Schuitemaker is an indigenous graduate student in the Faculty of Education in Curriculum and Pedagogy. She is of Kanien’kehá:ka, French Canadian and Dutch descent and is grateful for being allowed to reside upon the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations.