University of Sudbury’s James Bay Initiative
It was a cold week in January, when representatives from the University of Sudbury visited the James Bay communities of Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany First Nation. The trip made it possible for the University to continue and strengthen the relationships between it and the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council, with whom a memorandum of understanding was signed some time ago. The trip also provided an opportunity for the University’s new President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Sophie Bouffard, and other newly hired staff of the University, to meet the James Bay students and various delegates. The tour was deemed to be an important component to the project.
On their travels, the group met with one of the Department of Indigenous Studies’ part-time faculty, Dr. Edward Metawabin, in Fort Albany First Nation.
Despite the snowstorm, seven students from Moose Factory came to visit the University of Sudbury at the beginning of March 2017. The students are currently enrolled and taking courses offered by the University of Sudbury’s Department of Indigenous Studies in the James Bay region.
On their visit, the students received campus tours of the University of Sudbury and Laurentian University. They were able to participate in the Mining Panel conference and Cedar Bath Teachings offered by the Department of Indigenous Studies. They met with the President, Dr. Sophie Bouffard, and had a scrumptious lunch with entertainment at the Indigenous Student Affairs Metis Cultural Day in the University’s Canisius Hall.
While on the campus tour, the students were able to purchase textbooks at the bookstore, get their student cards, receive free blood pressure checks by nursing students, and go to the rooftop … surprisingly, they even met some relatives with smiles and hugs!
The University of Sudbury has been offering courses directly on-site to Moose Factory since 2013 and extended their offer to the other James Bay communities of Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Attawapiskat in 2015.
For more information on the James Bay project, please refer to the University’s website: http://usudbury.ca/en/programs/indigenous-studies