USask Native Studies graduates reflect on their education – archyde

As Jazzlin Walker and Dylan Cooper prepare to receive their Bachelor of Arts degrees at spring convocation, they reflect on their time as undergraduates at the University of the University College of Arts and Sciences. Saskatchewan (USask).

“Reaching this milestone is bittersweet. As much as it’s a relief to finish my undergraduate degrees, it’s also the end of a great and exciting time in my life,” said Walker, who grew up in Nipawin, Saskatchewan.

During USask’s spring convocation, which runs June 6-10, Walker will receive a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Sociology and a three-year Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies. She also completes the final requirement for her Certificate in Criminology and Addictionshe will receive in the fall.

“All of my hard work and dedication to learning and expanding my mind has gotten me here and, although I’m nervous, I’m excited for what’s to come in the next chapter of my life,” she said.

“I love to learn and I have always been an excellent student. So now that I’m finishing my undergrad, I’m excited to focus on learning in other ways. Reaching a milestone is always an exciting thing, and I’m very proud of myself and all of the other USask graduates for this incredible achievement.

Like Walker, Cooper will also receive a three-year Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies at spring convocation. He said he feels “really good” to finish his degree.

“I’m proud of myself for not giving up on the degree, despite the many long breaks I took between semesters,” he said.

Both Walker and Cooper enjoyed their time at the USask College of Arts and Sciences. Through their Indigenous Studies courses, they learned about the experiences of Indigenous peoples, from pre-contact histories to current challenges, and examined the historical and contemporary realities of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada.

“It took me a while to decide on my major, but when I learned that there was a program available that would help me better understand where I grew up, I immediately knew it was what I wanted to learn,” Cooper said.

“The program is transformative in how you perceive yourself in the world, so throughout the program my reasons for staying in the program have shifted from my personal experiences to a broader understanding of the dynamics of the society in which we live. live.”

Cooper, who grew up in Baker Lake, Nunavut, and graduated from high school in Saskatoon, congratulated faculty members at Department of Native Studies to help students “understand the dimensions and complexity of the systems we live in” and to effectively challenge power structures in constructive ways.

Cooper’s favorite class was INDG 264.3: Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Politics, taught by former USask faculty member Dr. Damien Lee (PhD). Cooper described it as the “most thoughtful course” he had ever taken.

“Prof. Lee challenged us all to look deeper – beyond answering questions of historical problems with seemingly simple solutions – and forced us to look deeper within ourselves to know how to implement a real change,” Cooper said. “It was a surprisingly philosophical course that gave you a headache in a good way.”

Walker said she moved back and forth between Indigenous studies and sociology when declaring her major as an arts and science student. When she took SOC 212.3: Introduction to Criminology in her second year, however, Walker realized that she was interested in studying theories of crime and decided to pursue a degree in sociology. She also became interested in pursuing a degree in Indigenous Studies when she enrolled in INDG 230.3: Gender in Traditional and Contemporary Indigenous Societies.

“I found the connection between Indigenous studies and sociology and realized how important it is to be educated in Indigenous studies, especially living on the prairies where Indigenous people face high rates of disproportionate violence and incarceration,” Walker said. “It wasn’t until I finished my fourth year that I realized I was capable of completing both majors and declared a second major.”

With his degree now complete, Cooper reflects fondly on his time at USask. He enjoyed studying at Kirk Hall and the sense of community in his Native Studies classes. He also enjoyed some of the university’s dining options, such as the burritos at the Arts and Sciences cafeteria and the buffet at St. Thomas More College, as well as the live music at Louis.

Cooper’s plans now include pursuing a career in user experience/user interface design, which he considers “a bit different” from his previous college studies.

“But it’s a burgeoning skill that’s marketable globally with a lot of potential to bring impactful change,” he said. “I am committed to continuing my university studies in the near future, but for now I would like to work and prepare for the next stage.”

Walker plans to complete her certificate in criminology and addictions and pursue a career that helps people in need of support. She is currently exploring various masters programs in criminology, sociology and social work.

As graduation nears, Walker’s advice to new USask students is to “take every opportunity in college and have fun.”

“The best part of studying at the College of Arts and Science was getting to know myself and really becoming who I am,” she said.

“I learned a lot about myself, who I want to be, and how I can get there, during my time at USask. I feel like studying at the College of Arts and Sciences allowed me to connecting not just with myself but with like-minded people who have become great friends of mine. Getting to know other college students and faculty members has truly been a great experience and I am very happy with the relationships I have created here.

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