Benefit raises funds, First Nation awareness
You read it, hear it and speak it every day if you’re a student here, but you might not know what Kwantlen means.
The name of the university is also the name of the Kwantlen First Nation, which was the largest first nation in the Fraser Valley in the mid-19th century, according to the Kwantlen First Nation website.
In theÂ Halq’emeylem language, spokenÂ by the Sto:lo people, the larger band council that it belongs to, Kwantlen means Tireless Runner. That’s also the title of a scholarship given to Kwantlen First Nations students who display financial need, but also contribute to their local First Nations communities.
On Friday, Nov. 13, Kwantlen’s First Nations co-ordinators office hosted a silent auction and dinner benefit to raise scholarship funds for the Â award and celebrate First Nations culture. Reporter Justin Langille was there to talk to event organizers and watch attendees bid for a variety of literature, crafts and fine art donated by supporters.
â€œWeâ€™re very pleased with how it turned out. I was overwhelmed with the silent auction,â€ said Barb Gorman, administrative assistant for educational transitions and aboriginal initiatives. Almost 100 people gathered for the event and nearly $ 5,000 was raised from bidding wars for carved masks, prints, paintings and weavings, according to Gorman.
Approximately 150 students identify themselves as aboriginal at Kwantlen, but about 360 students are enrolled at all Kwantlen campuses, according to Marylin Waithman, director of educational transitions and aboriginal initiatives at Kwantlen. â€œOur goal is to significantly increase the number of aboriginal students who attend school here,â€ Waithman said.
A bidder contemplates competing for a drum with a painted eagle design, donated by Emily Carr University.
Along with the auction, patrons were treated to traditional dancing and a gourmet meal of aboriginal foods. The event was the first fundraiser for the Tireless Runner award since 2006. Every year, the award provides three $750 scholarships to aboriginal students who are in financial need and are active in First Nations communities.
â€œOur people stand so proud, just for the mere fact that we have survived for so long,â€ Lekeyton Antone, a member of the Kwantlen First Nation, told the crowd before a dinner of smoked salmon began.â€œ Weâ€™re also trying to make sure that our next generations coming have a better way than we did. Itâ€™s all about people working together and itâ€™s all about who we are and what our beliefs are.â€