Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 08, 2003

U of G aboriginal group helping sponsor educational conference

The University of Guelph’s Anishnabeg Student Association is helping sponsor a conference to create awareness of aboriginal people Feb. 28 at Wilfrid Laurier University.

The conference will feature a keynote address at 2 p.m. by James Bartleman, the first aboriginal lieutenant governor of Ontario. Bartleman, a member of M’njikaning First Nation, had a distinguished career of more than 35 years in the Canadian Foreign Service. He was Canada’s ambassador to the European Union and served as high commissioner to Australia and to South Africa. He was also ambassador to the North Atlantic Council of NATO, served as ambassador to Israel and high commissioner to Cyprus and was ambassador to Cuba.

Bartleman was also Foreign Policy Adviser to the prime minister and assistant secretary to the Cabinet for Foreign and Defence Policy, Privy Council Office. During the conference, he will speak about his own experiences relating to identity issues facing young aboriginal Canadians and the importance of education.

The keynote will be followed by sessions featuring native academics, singers, storytellers and writers. The conference will also include a traditional opening prayer, along with a closing feast that includes fish, venison, fry bread and corn soup and a social featuring drumming and dancing.

The event is organized by the Shared Universities Native Development and Navigation Committee (SUNDANCe), an initiative among Guelph, Laurier and the University of Waterloo. This is the group’s second annual conference, with next year’s event scheduled to be held in Guelph. “U of G has one of the largest populations of native aboriginal students,” says Micheal Mandeville, a member of SUNDANCe and the staff representative on the university’s Board of Governors. “This is one of our outreach projects to help raise awareness of aboriginal issues, both on campus and in the community.”

The conference is open to the public. The cost is $10 for the sessions and $20 for the social and feast, with all proceeds going to an aboriginal scholarship fund shared by the three universities. Featured conference speakers include Drew Hayden Taylor, an award-winning playwright, satirist and one of Canada’s first native scriptwriters, and Shannon Thunderbird, an international speaker, singer and storyteller, as well as faculty members from Laurier, Waterloo and Trent University. For more information, contact Sparrow Rose, SUNDANCe co-chair, at (519) 884-0710, Ext. 4370 or Jean Becker, SUNDANCe communications co-ordinator, at (519) 885-1460, Ext. 209.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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