July 13, 2016

Tsatia Adzich

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By Rachael Eedy

Graduate. Advocate. Proud Métis. As this faculty’s first indigenous convocation speaker, Tsatia spoke of finding her voice, and using compassion against oppression. 

The Speech

Raw nerves followed Tsatia to the convocation ceremony. Then, as she heard the procession drums, she felt ready. Looking over the people in the audience, Tsatia found her mother crying tears of joy. Tsatia’s throat felt tight. She took a deep breath and began.

The Speaker

We caught up with Tsatia and asked her to reflect on her time at SFU, her work, and future plans.

Tsatia wasn’t sure initially that her choice to major in Communication was right. Later, she enrolled in a course with professor Katherine Reilly, where she learned to challenge dominant ideas and adapt assignments to her own interests as an indigenous student. After that, courses became more meaningful, and her grades went up. Tsatia began to see how the flexibility in the Communication program made it the right fit for her.  

Outside of the classroom, Tsatia volunteered with the First Nations Student Association and SFPRIG (Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group). She often spent time at the Women’s Centre and the Indigenous Student Centre. These groups provided Tsatia with a sense of belonging, and helped her see how important, and empowering, it was to raise her voice so that those without one could be heard. Tsatia currently volunteers in Vancouver with non-profit group Check Your Head, on a new project that helps youth become leaders in addressing discrimination in high schools.

Tsatia is currently working as a consultant with the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology (FCAT). She has been coordinating a new project titled FCAT Futures, in which she travelled to three rural BC communities to consult with indigenous youth, teachers and community members. These consultations are the start of a dialogue between FCAT and indigenous communities on providing youth with new avenues to explore post-secondary education in communication, art and technology.

Recently, Tsatia attended the Métis Nation BCconference in Winnipeg. There, as the organization’s Minister of Youth and Provincial Chair, she met with community members and Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. She successfully passed a resolution to establish a National Metis Youth Advisory Council, which she hopes will support Métis youth voices being recognized, and supported, on a national platform.

Tsatia’s journey is far from over. This fall, she will be attending the University of Victoria as a Master’s student in the Indigenous Governance program. Although she will be leaving SFU, Tsatia will leave a piece of herself behind in her legacy—the many contributions she’s made to our university.