St. Thomas University student Leanne Hudson knew exactly how she wanted to spend her FutureWabanaki internship with the Provincial Archives or New Brunswick earlier this year.
Leanne began a project titled ‘Integration of Indigenous Culture, Knowledge, and Traditions’, a written guide for understanding New Brunswick Archives and Indigenous History. The guide was researched, prepared, and completed by Leanne, with the goal of helping address the gaps in Indigenous culture and history in New Brunswick’s public school curriculum.
“It is a book that is filled with Indigenous history, aiming to educate students, professors, educators – everybody, really,” says Hudson. “I call it the ‘Reader’s Digest’ version because it is brief but more digestible, which will hopefully make it easier to learn from.”
The guide contains a history of Indigenous communities in New Brunswick, including their geography, names, and language. The publication also outlines significant Canadian and New Brunswick events.
For Leanne, the inspiration to write the guide was ignited by her own experience growing up in Nova Scotia’s public school system.
“It was difficult for me to not to see my culture recognized in my schools,” says Hudson. “In high school, I started advocating more and gained a better understanding of my culture, and I felt empowered to figure out why there were these gaps in public education and Indigenous culture.”
The Future Wabanaki initiative fosters collaborative relationships between the business community and Indigenous students across New Brunswick. Through experiential learning, students gain real world experience while contributing to the development of their community. The initiative ensures that Indigenous students have equal access to meaningful and valuable real experiences.
Joining Future Wabanaki and their partners on their efforts is RBC, who have made investing in experiential learning a key component of their RBC Future Launch initiative. RBC Future Launch is a $500 million commitment to bringing young people together with community leaders and partners across the private and public sectors to help youth prepare for the future of work.
Hudson, currently studying Communications and Public Policy, Native Studies and Human Rights at St. Thomas University, was given the internship opportunity through the Indigenous Experiential Learning program at STU, a Future Wabanaki partner. The experience provided Leanne the opportunity to connect her in-class learning with her work.
“Communications links directly with this project, especially the promotional strategy,” says Hudson. “I have been taking things I have learned in class and using them in this project.”
Taking on a project of this magnitude has helped Leanne develop skills in organization, time management, content management, and sensitivity, as well as refine her practical skills of writing and critical learning.
It also provided an opportunity to work within a government organization, something that she wasn’t sure would be a possibility.
“If you read the resource, you will see a lot has happened between Indigenous groups and the government, and it can make it hard to be in those places,” said Hudson. “I had this amazing opportunity and the Provincial Archives really embraced what I had to offer. They’ve been supportive and confident in this project, and now they’re willing to help me even more by making sure people see it and learn from it.”
You can read Leanne’s complete guide here. For more information on St. Thomas’s experiential learning opportunities, you can visit www.stu.ca/experientiallearning/.
For more information on Future Wabanaki experiential learning opportunities in New Brunswick, interested employers and students can check out more success stories during RBC Future NB Week from January 24-28, 2022 at https://futurenewbrunswick.ca/future-wabanaki/.