Let's hear from...
Lexi is curious and passionate about centering and privileging Indigenous worldviews within systems change and design thinking. She is a proud citizen of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, from the Yukon, and works hard each day striving to become Dan Shawthan; a culturally grounded, respectful and good community member. As an alumni of the Indigenous Graduate Programs at the Beedie School of Business Lexi focuses on designing impactful and relevant learning spaces for business leaders to gain new tools and insights for achieving economic success. She is committed to uplifting Indigenous business and creating an inclusive economy so that we can all thrive together.
What does National Indigenous Peoples Day mean to you?
National Indigenous People’s Day is a day to celebrate Indigenous excellence. For me, it means, being in community, often in a state of awe, witnessing amazing Indigenous peoples doing incredibly inspiring things. It is a day for family, honouring resilience, and enjoying songs, stories, dances, and ceremony in safe public spaces. It is about appreciating the gift and legacy of our ancestors and sharing this love with others. NIPD is symbolic of no longer being ashamed and trying to hide my Indigenous identity and standing strong into being a Champagne and Aishihik First Nation woman and the responsibilities I hold in relationship to my family, my Nation, and my community. NIPD is a reminder to celebrate who I am and where I come from.
What is your favourite book and / or Indigenous author?
We are so lucky there are so many brilliant Indigenous authors, it is hard to pick one. However, I love anything Eden Robinson writes. She captivates me. She had me at Monkey Beach and I have been a fan of hers since. I also love the company Raven Reads as they promote Indigenous authors and products. Also, please support Iron Dog Books, an Indigenous owned book store and book truck. We can consciously and mindfully choose to support Indigenous arts and business, I invite you to do so.
Do you have any words for advice for other Indigenous folks at SFU? (or incoming Indigenous students)
The one piece of guidance I would share with incoming Indigenous students and other Indigenous folks at SFU is strive to show up as your full authentic self in all the spaces you are in. Also, know that you belong here. SFU has welcomed us and invited us into these spaces. Granted, they might not have consciously known what that means, however, we are here and lifting up incredible work for our communities and the host Nations we are in relationship to by virtue of our campus locations. Create all the space and systems you need in order for our people to thrive within SFU. We are here because we are strong enough to lift the transformation that is required. Thank those that came before us and worked so hard to create the spaces we now occupy and show up doing our best each day to create even more spaces of inclusion for those that come after us.
Tell us about a recent project/paper/presentation/initiative you are proud of?
I am so grateful to be invited into SFU and the Beedie School of Business. I wake up each day striving to create spaces of inclusion and opportunities for community to be a part of the IBL program and to increase the presence of Indigenous excellence with in the school. In the year that I have been here, I am so happy to have been part of a team dedicated to increasing the number of Indigenous faculty, guest speakers and TAs. We also now have wisdom keepers and Elders supporting the classroom and we bring in Indigenous pedagogy to all of our classes. Most recently we were able to support bringing our students into community and delivered the MBA Indigenous Economies course from within a longhouse. This was a spectacular and very special venue to uplift this important work of understanding, envisioning and creating economic systems inclusive of Indigenous wisdom and knowledge. The cohort from students across the country enjoyed a week of being in relationship to the space, each other, community and program. I am super honoured to be lifting up spaces of transformation and belonging as well as the opportunity to create new systems inclusive of Indigenous world view.
How does your identity as an Indigenous person impact your experience at SFU?
I show up each day focusing on centering and prioritizing Indigenous worldview within the current structure and system and to creating safe spaces for the IBL EMBA students to thrive within. I am motivated by finding spaces in which we can learn and grow together in creating stronger systems for everyone. I also love how each day I get the opportunity to create space for Indigenous excellence and am keenly motivated to support Indigenous business. SFU has large purchasing power and we can support the growth of the Indigenous economy if we decided to procure differently and prioritize Indigenous business.
Megan is mixed British and Irish settler and a member of Xwisten First Nation. She is an undergraduate student in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at SFU. Megan is considering furthering her education within the realms of biochemistry and toxicology, in order to learn more and work towards being able to better the environment and it's relations with modern human civilizations.
Interview with Megan Donahue
Courtney is Northern Tutchone-German and a member of Selkirk First Nation. She is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at SFU. In her graduate studies, Courtney is interested in Indigenous policy, decolonizing the city, and learning how to responsibly integrate Indigenous knowledges and communities into urban planning processes.
Interview with Courtney Vance
Stephanie is Ojibwe on her mother's side and Sikh on her father's side. She is a member of Berens River First Nation in Manitoba however, she was raised outside of her community by Ukrainian and French Canadian parents. Stephanie is the Program Coordinator, Indigenous Graduate Programs at the Beedie School of Business and supports the program delivery and students in the Indigenous Business and Leadership EMBA program.
Interview with Stephanie Merinuk
Julie is a Cree-Métis and Italian student who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with minors in Kinesiology and Indigenous Studies. Graduating at 32 years old, Julie wants to tell all students that if she can finish a degree after the life she has led, anyone can do it.
Interview with Julie Seal