The First Nations Centre provides comprehensive services for Aboriginal Students, as well as academic and cultural support for all UNBC students. As one of Canada's northernmost universities, UNBC hosts a wide and varied First Nations community, many of which use the First Nations Centre as a "home away from home."
The Centre offers a peaceful, culturally sensitive environment where students can learn, study, socialize, and relax. Furthermore, career as well as personal counseling is available to help students make the most of their university experience.
As a haven away from the stresses of everyday university life, the Centre fulfills an important function for both new and returning students. The warm and welcoming atmosphere encourages communication and exchange, thereby providing a bridge between aboriginal students as well as non-aboriginal students.
There is a word in our Wsanec language - kwagwatul, which means "talking together." The time has come for this. The first Europeans came to live among us when my grandmother was a child. Now I am a great-grandfather, and still, very little is known of our history and values. Few people appreciate that we have always lived here, that we are still here, that we put back into the land what we have taken from it. Like our neighbours, we have dreams for healthy communities sustained by the same forest and fisheries resources that sustain them. We too hope our children will become doctors, lawyers, professors. We must start by talking together. The more we share of our history and values, the more people will realize we have a right to talk about our future.
-Gabriol Bartleman, Wsanec elder