Press Release

UQAT proudly celebrates Indigenous identities and cultures

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Rouyn-Noranda, June 21, 2022 - On the occasion of the National Indigenous Peoples' Day, a time to recognize and promote the richness of indigenous cultures and the achievements and contributions of the different peoples, the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) made a point of celebrating the accomplishments of its Indigenous students, with particular emphasis on those who have recently graduated.

Measures for the recognition of students from indigenous origin
For the 2022 Convocation, Indigenous graduates were allowed to wear a scarf with a specific symbol if they wished. Graduates were also invited to personalise their ceremonial mortar, using traditional art techniques such as beading or embroidery. « It was important for me to have the opportunity to decorate my graduation cap. I wanted it to be special, I made it orange to represent UQAT. I was very proud to wear it during the ceremony on Saturday », says Passa Mangiuk of the Inuit community of Ivujivik, graduate from the Inuit Teacher Training Program. « Beading my own graduation cap meant that I could proudly represent my Eeyou Culture at the UQAT Graduation. Indigenous people have been using beads for hundreds of years and it has been a past time we enjoy in decorating our belongings. My eldest daughter also helped me with the beading, and she put love and determination into completing the project. The colours I used represent peace, tranquility, and brilliance to my educational journey. The beads hold emotions that I will take with me as I continue down my educational path » mentions Juliette Ottereyes of Chisasibi, graduate from the certificate in administration.

These measures were proposed, following consultations, so that those who wish to do so can express their identity at this important moment in their university career. Sensitive to the students' needs, UQAT wanted Convocation to be an official event representative of the Indigenous students' experience at UQAT and of the University's commitment to work jointly with First Peoples, as stated in the Plan d’action 2020-2025.  "It is with a desire to always create inclusive and open spaces that we implement concrete actions to promote the value of indigenous cultures so that everyone can feel supported in the expression of their life experience. We keep listening and we are open to changing our practices to meet the needs of Indigenous students," said Vincent Rousson, UQAT’s Rector. Signs in the different indigenous languages were also displayed at the event to welcome and congratulate the First Peoples members in the language of their home community.

An education cohort from Puvirnituq and Ivujivik takes part in the celebration
Inuit graduates from UQAT's education program offered in the communities of Puvirnituq and Ivujivik with the Unité de recherche, de formation et de développement en éducation en milieu autochtone (URFDEMA) were also attending the event on June 18 to celebrate the end of their study program. "We are very proud to welcome the Inuit graduates to Rouyn-Noranda to celebrate their success.  Receiving their diplomas in person is a particularly powerful moment for these graduates who have pursued their studies in their community in Nunavik", explained URFDEMA professor Glorya Pellerin.

A festive and friendly event to celebrate perseverance
Along with the Convocation ceremony, an end-of-year event was held at the UQAT campus in Val-d'Or to highlight the perseverance of Indigenous students. Organised by UQAT’s First Peoples Service, the purpose of this event was to bring together Indigenous students and their families in a convivial celebration at the First Peoples' Pavilion on the Val-d'Or campus. Student groups were invited to share, with their family and friends and UQAT staff, a meal preceded by a ceremonial recognition. 

Through its actions, UQAT recognizes that it has a role to play in the process of building bridges between peoples and wishes to reiterate its commitment to pursue the development of training and research for, by and with First Nations and Inuit.

For more information:
Press release Convocation ceremony 2022

Marie-Eve Lacombe
Information agent
Communication and Recruitment Service
819 762-0971, ext. 2686

Last update : 31 mai 2018