Section 2: Who are Indigenous Students?


Students enter our space and are free to be who they are – without teaching, answering, debating, dialoguing 500 years of colonization. More physical (and mental) spaces need to be like this.”

– Vanessa McCourt (2018, p. 14)

Identity grounds us, it guides us, and it gives us a foundation of who we are and what we can do. Every day, Indigenous students interact with staff in student services, academic advising, libraries, bookstores, and counselling services. This section considers ways we can ensure that we respect Indigenous identities and provide an environment that is accessible, inclusive, and safe for all students. We look at the diversity of Indigenous students and how their identity is often threatened by stereotypes and myths. We also explore Indigenous ways of knowing and being. To be an ally, it is helpful to understand how Indigenous students’ needs and worldviews differ from other student populations.

Purpose of this section

In this section, we look at how diverse Indigenous post-secondary students are. We also look at how education and experiences can form long-lasting relationships and positive experiences in post-secondary education. Topics include:

  • Indigenous student diversity
  • Myths that impact Indigenous student experience
  • Indigenous ways of knowing and being

This section will take two to four hours for group activities and individual exploration.


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Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors Copyright © 2018 by Ian Cull; Robert L. A. Hancock; Stephanie McKeown; Michelle Pidgeon; and Adrienne Vedan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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