author: maria aman | contributor
Via C d solliers international brochure
First Nations University of Canada is a beautiful and unique campus, both in its architectural design and location on the University of Regina campus. The sad thing I have noticed over the years, though, while studying at the U of R, is that it feels disconnected from campus life for most students. The campus building is out of the way for most people that work and study at the university, and there is often a misconception that it is only for Métis and First Nations students. Now, with the campus’ new designation on the “Red Dog” urban reserve, I certainly hope that thoughts like these come to an end and are replaced with a more productive and inclusive narrative among people on and off campus.
I personally love the atmosphere at the FNU; it’s warm and friendly with a more relaxed air of a buzz of students. It boasts a beautiful panoramic green space all around the building in the warmer months that is just so calming to sit and work in. I personally hope the university puts in more infrastructure to encourage traffic – more unique seating areas, for example, or a statue on the grounds. It would also be nice to have more exposure to Indigenous art that would stimulate conversation and educate students.
Another thing that I feel grows more in demand at our university in general is a childcare/daycare facility. I know that the current childcare on our campus has long waiting lists, and with the new planning that will be going into the Red Dog reserve, another centre for that purpose would not be unutilized. There are more and more mature students coming to the U of R with children, and there have always been students of all ages who are parents. Childcare at FNU seems like a great way to help alleviate a student parent’s burden. Not only that, but a Red Dog daycare centre would also be great way of integrating Indigenous cultural knowledge into child education at earlier ages.
The last thing I would love to see on the Red Dog reserve is a vegetable garden to add to its already established medicine garden. This would bring students, staff, and community members involved toward a common goal. The entire entrance of the FNU could surely use a bit or colour in my view – maybe some flowers or even a mural. The annual events already being held on the campus (like the Round Dance) are so big and grand. However, there are typically much fewer students who make their way to the furthest edge of the U of R campus unless they have classes held there. That’s why I really hope the university as a whole makes more of an effort to include and continuously promote FNU and the Red Dog reserve, and what it has to offer for the fifteen–thousand–plus students taking classes. It’s important for the future of our campus, province, and country that we put care into this important new development. We are all Treaty People.