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Jessica Arnouse

Sixteen degrees at SFU Kamloops

October 4, 2007

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Sixteen graduands received their degrees at the SFU Kamloops convocation ceremony Sept. 21, while another 10 received certificates and/or diplomas from programs such as the education faculty’s professional development program (PDP), First Nations studies and First Nations language proficiency.

Lending a poignant note to the occasion was the presentation of a posthumous language-proficiency certificate to the spouse Valerie Morgan, wife of Chief Mike Retasket of the Bonaparte Indian Band. She died unexpectedly earlier this summer.

Class valedictorian Jessica Arnouse (above) of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) first nation received her BA in anthropology. A single mother, she spoke about the challenges mature First Nations students face on entering university. While she found the language of theories, methodologies and disciplines difficult to grasp at first, she says her studies in anthropology and First Nations ultimately gave her a new perspective on her own people’s history and past adversities.

Studying at SFU Kamloops also gave Arnouse an opportunity to learn her own language, Secwepemctsin. "One of my goals is to be fluent in my language."

Arnouse attended SFU in order to build a better life for herself and her children, now eight and three years old. She is currently working for the Secwepemc Cultural Education Society on a research project regarding indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights.

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