McGill's First Peoples' House attempts to provide a sense of community and a voice to Indigenous students who have left their home communities in order to pursue higher education.
It is our hope that the education that Indigenous students receive here at McGill will benefit the communities that they are from. An anthropologist, whose name escapes me, once said, "The mark of a truly sophisticated civilization is its ability to adapt to change." These words reflect the resilience of Indigenous people since European contact to the present. Education is one of many keys to our survival into the new millennium. Indigenous students who have graduated from McGill would attest to this fact. Dedication and perseverance have enabled them to attain their goals and perhaps the realization that "they will emerge with their hands held forward to grasp the place in society that is rightfully theirs" (the late Chief Dan George).
However, in order to keep our sense of identity within a large postsecondary institution, we must not forget our roots, our language, customs, traditions and teachings of our ancestors. We must remain true to those teachings and respect one another's differences. As Indigenous people emerge from the darkness of oppression, we look to the future that we hope is full of light and freedom to control our own destinies. An academic education based on contemporary teachings, combined with our own ancestral knowledge, will allow us to "emerge with our hands held forward" into a promising future.
As our Elders tell us, "We are always learning till the day we die!"
We welcome all Indigenous students including Métis, the Inuit, & First Nations (both "status" & "non-status"), Maori and Aborigines.