Under the guidance of St. Mary’s Elder, Case Eagle Speaker and the Indigenous Advisory Council, St. Mary’s University has chosen to hold a separate ceremony honouring Indigenous graduands with their families in a traditional, Indigenous ceremony before the formal convocation.
In keeping with the intimate and personal style, the smaller ceremony is held before the formal convocation and is led by St. Mary’s Elders, held in a circle and celebrates family connections, supports and relationships.
St. Mary’s celebrated the accomplishments of its Indigenous graduates on Monday, June 5, 2017, marking the achievements of four graduating Métis students, three of whom – Steven Showalter, Kara Shaw and Cara Parker – participated in an intimate ceremony on campus.
Family was at the heart of the ceremony as the three graduates in attendance represent two families, the Showalters’ and the Shaw’s, that have been at the heart of the Indigenous community at St. Mary’s University since the inception of the school’s Indigenous Initiatives program.
Steven is the third Showalter sibling to complete their studies at St. Mary’s University, following in the footsteps of brother Andrew and sister Julie, all of whom have had a major impact on the Indigenous initiatives undertaken at St. Mary’s.
“Andrew, Julie and Steven have all been involved in exploring their Indigenous roots while at St. Mary’s, and are all founding members of the St. Mary’s Truth and Reconciliation Working Group,” said Michelle Scott, Director of Indigenous Initiatives at St. Mary’s University. “Steven’s part time job last summer as the summer student/Indigenous Program Assistant where he worked very closely with myself and fostered even stronger relationships in the community.”
This marks the second Métis sash presented to Steven, having received his first after graduating in 2015 with his BA in History.
Kara Shaw also received her Métis sash alongside her Aunt, Cara Parker and Mother, Jacqueline Shaw, a recent St. Mary’s graduate herself.
“Kara, Cara and Jacqueline have also been very actively engaged in Indigenous initiatives her at St. Mary’s and are also members of our TRC Working Group,” said Scott.
“It is with great pride that we acknowledge the long-standing family relationships that we have and we are confident that the paths they helped us to forge together will grow wider as we continue down our path.”