October 16, 2018 - 9:00pm
A desire to effect positive change for First Nations communities has sisters Morgan and Gina Mowatt leveraging what they learned at VIU to pursue graduate studies at the University of Victoria (UVic).
Gina (Bachelor of Arts ’15, Major in First Nations Studies) is pursuing a Master of Arts in Colonial Histories. While in Victoria, she co-founded the Innovative Young Indigenous Leaders Symposium, an annual event that aims to unify Indigenous youth and facilitate systemic change across the province and country. She says her experiences at VIU were exactly what she needed to prepare her for the journey she’s on.
“I was a weak student who had not done well in high school, and at VIU I had the support and encouragement I needed to transform into a confident student,” she says.
Gina, who plans to start a PhD after finishing her master’s, wants to work with Indigenous nations “to be the best we can be for future generations. The goal is not specific to a career – young Indigenous people like myself have to adapt to fit many different roles to fight for our people to have the rights and privileges to their lands and waters, and to live in a healthy and vibrant way.”
Morgan (Bachelor of Arts ’17, Major in First Nations Studies) is just finishing up a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance. She started her PhD in UVic’s Political Science department in September 2018, along with a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood.
“I believe the study of Indigenous politics is a core concern of political science in Canada, which is why I’ve chosen to conduct my research in that space,”says Morgan. “Also, a PhD will ensure I am qualified to teach these topics at universities, which I hope to do in the future, along with on-the-ground community work.”
One highlight of Morgan’s VIU education was the involvement of her family in her educational journey – they were invited to feasts and welcome in the classroom. When she graduated, her dad said he felt as though he was graduating, too.
“Family is everything to me, so this affirmed that VIU’s approach to families is meaningful,” she says.
*This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 edition of VIU Magazine. Check out more stories on the VIU Magazine webpage.