About a dozen students participate in an activity at Monday night's Building Bridges events at the University of Saskatchewan
Photo Credit: Don Somers

First Nation students greet International students in Saskatchewan

The International Student Centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, helped its new students get to know some of the First Nations students this week, facilitating a cultural exchange that might otherwise, not take place.

The Aboriginal Student Centre hosted a potluck dinner, where the immigrant students were able to experience another perspective on Canada.

‘Buidling Bridges’

Janelle Pewapsconias works at the Aboriginal Student Centre and was one of the people who helped create the program in 2013.  It’s called ‘Building Bridges’.

“What I would love to see is people have a different and deeper understanding to Canada, to the history of this place, she said. “I can speak from personal experience that I know indigenous people maybe have misconceptions about newcomer folks as well as newcomer folks having misconceptions about indigenous folks.”

Jebunnessa Chapola, a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan said she knew very little about aboriginal culture when she first arrived, but believes it’s important to learn.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about Canadian history and aboriginal people and as an immigrant woman I had a feeling that we need to learn more about aboriginal history,” she said.

The potluck dinner was one of several events the Building Bridges program will host through the year, along with sharing circles, sporting events and tours of the region.

Part of the exchange is based on the Plains Cree native notion of ‘Sapo Nistohtamowin’ which translates as, ‘learning through understanding stories.”

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