Well-respected Kwantlen First Nation elder Lekeyten was installed on Thursday as Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s first elder in residence. He will share Aboriginal knowledge

First ‘elder in residence’ for Kwantlen Polytechnic University

A respected elder from the Kwantlen First Nation will be the first 'elder in residence' at the university, which is named after his people.

  • Feb. 2, 2015 9:00 a.m.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) welcomed its first elder in residence at a special installation ceremony at its Surrey campus on Thursday.

Lekeyten, a well-known and respected member of the Kwantlen First Nation in Fort Langley, has taken on this important role.

“In my travels, I have always been respectful of the teachings of people, and I’m always learning,” Lekeyten told the audience of friends, family and KPU faculty and staff. “I’m coming to join every classroom, and I’m going to learn as well.”

One of 20 Kwantlen First Nation elders, Lekeyten grew up attending day school. While they were similar to residential schools, day schools did not require students to stay overnight and they returned home at the end of every day.

But the teachings were the same, said Lekeyten, and he and his classmates were taught to be quiet. As a result, Lekeyten spent more time in nature than in school, and he soon found his voice.

Fast forward to adulthood, and Lekeyten has been avidly involved for more than 20 years as a guest speaker and presenter at all levels of elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as trades and conferences in the Lower Mainland. His talks are about the environment, land and water use, fishing, and issues of conservation and its traditional importance.

His advice at the elder in residence installation ceremony: “Never shut up.”

The installation included warm remarks from many who have known and worked alongside Lekeyten.

Former KPU anthropology instructor Laura Cooper spoke of her lengthy friendship with Lekeyten. She said he taught her how to be a better instructor and a better human being. The latter lessons he also shared with students.

“I still get emails from students whose lives have been touched, and these students are in their 40s.”

Speaking directly to Lekeyten, Cooper expressed her gratitude for his teaching students and instructors to be more humble and more compassionate.

KPU criminology instructor Lisa Monchalin, who is of Algonquin, Metis and Huron descent, described Lekeyten as one of the most honest and intelligent people she’s ever met, and said KPU is honoured to have him as its first elder in residence.

President and vice-chancellor Dr. Alan Davis described how all new students at KPU are greeted at the start of their studies at the university by Lekeyten, who has a history of welcoming every student and bringing with him a blessing.

“It’s a moment they never forget, I’m sure.”

Chancellor Dr. George Melville, officiating at the installation, said he’s confident Lekeyten will bring the best of himself to his role as KPU’s first elder in residence.

Speaking for Lekeyten’s family, many of whom were present at the installation, Kwantlen First Nation elder Kevin Kelly noted “today is a wonderful day.”

The primary focus of the elder in residence program is to support and encourage Aboriginal students on their educational journey. Lekeyten will share  knowledge, traditions and teachings with individual students and groups and will work with the university to encourage and promote understanding and respect for indigenous perspectives, culture and values.

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge man to the rescue twice in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

Driver from 2005 vehicle dragging death in Maple Ridge dies

Grant De Patie killed while working at gas station

Crown drops one Vernon assault charge against Curtis Sagmoen

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

Start of Maple Ridge B-Line bus service may be delayed

TransLink says new service could start next year, some time

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Two men charged in Lower Mainland grocery store stabbing in 2018

Coquitlam RCMP say the incident is ‘believed to be targeted’

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Most Read