Shaina Hounsell looks forward to sharing her Métis heritage and history with her future students. (Photo: Carey Shaw)

Community plays big role in SUNTEP student’s education

Shaina Hounsell is excited to be learning about her Métis heritage while getting an education.

The fourth-year student in the College of Education is described as consistently positive by those in her program, and she works hard to promote her Métis culture.

Hounsell will receive an award for community engagement at this year’s Indigenous Student Achievement Awards on Feb. 6. Indigenous students from across the University of Saskatchewan (USask) will be honoured at a ceremony to recognize their academic excellence, leadership, research endeavours or community engagement.

The award ceremony is part of Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW), which celebrates the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty. The festivities include a public art project, speakers and celebrations in various locations across campus.

We asked Hounsell a few questions about her time at USask and what motivates her.

Why did you choose the College of Education and the SUNTEP program?

I chose the College of Education because I knew after high school that I wanted to be a teacher. I chose the SUNTEP program because I wanted to learn more about my Métis heritage and history and be able to share that knowledge with my future students. 

In what ways has your Métis background helped you to build a strong sense of community?

My Métis background helped me during my internship because I was able to share my Métis culture and history with my students. Coming from a small community rich in Métis history, I was able to bring my knowledge and sense of community to the SUNTEP program and more specifically the SUNTEP student council.

You are receiving the award for community engagement. What does your community mean to you?

Community is important to me because growing up I’ve found that the more active and engaged you are in your community will determine how much you enjoy being there. Community to me means a support system of friends and family who are there to support and encourage one another. During my university experience I was fortunate to be a part of the SUNTEP team which was my community, and a home away from home.

Has there been someone in your life who has inspired you to get to where you are today?

There have been multiple people throughout the years that have shaped me into the person I am today. However, my family and friends were the biggest motivators and support systems.

This year’s Indigenous Achievement Week theme is Indigenous knowledge systems. How can Indigenous knowledge systems improve the world we live in?

Indigenous knowledge systems can improve the world we live in through the importance of sharing stories. Through oral stories, history and culture have been passed on through many generations. Kinship is another Indigenous knowledge system that would benefit the world we live in because if more people viewed the world and those in it as kin, world problems could be minimized.

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