About the Council
"Spending time with other Indigenous students gave me the caring community I needed to focus on my mental health: I had less social anxiety, I was less stressed on campus, and my grades shot up. Moreover, I was introduced to an Indigenous Studies minor which allowed me to enter an academic world where I was able to explore what is now my passion: Indigenous feminism." - Richel Donaldson, "Why I need the Native Students Union"
The NSU Council
The Native Students Union Council represents the Indigenous student community at UVic . The council is elected by the students at the end of the spring semester - any Indigenous student may run for council.
At council meetings there are events planned, budget items discussed, reports from various university committees, and any other relevant updates. Currently, meetings are on Zoom, but normally meeting happen on campus in the NSU room over some food from Felicitas. The NSU council is expected to be there, but it's also open to any NSU members.
The roles of the NSU council are as defined in the constitution.
The organization began in the mid-1960s, and therefore holds the title of the oldest Native Students Union in Canada. Firekeeper of the NSU, Jessica Brown, notes, “this era was a time of hardship for Indigenous people with the Sixties Scoop and Residential Schools, so it was amazing that such activism began.”
Even 50 years later, Indigenous students at UVic still face racism and colonization issues. The NSU offers a safe space place for Indigenous students to consider identity, self-expression, decolonization, resurgence and the opportunity to be rooted in a community with other Indigenous students. This is especially necessary as the Indigenous population at UVic continues to grow, both from local and non-local nations. Such intertribal connections between students can be helpful for nation-to-nation building, as well as teaching individuals to feel proud of where they’ve come from. - "Native Students Union: providing an Indigenous space on campus"
Students on the NSU council gain experience directing a non-profit group that represents Indigenous students. Taking on university committee roles gets students connected and acquainted with professors, chairs, administrators and even deans and other university officials. These are extremely helpful experiences when looking for jobs working in non-profits, governments, Indigenous organizations, and many other fields.
Students who have been on NSU council have gone on to do many great things. NSU alumi are now developing programs for their nations, creating curriculum for Indigenous kids interested in the sciences, supporting Indigenous women, building businesses, and many more great things. If you're interested in getting involed with the NSU council, check out our meetings and when the opportunity arises, run for council.