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 councillors named to local groups

Division of labour for new council

Operation Red Nose ready for 11th year in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

The new host organization this year is Kidsport Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows.

Gardening: George and the family berry plan

Pitt Meadows family’s farm roots go back to 1925.

Letter: Premier has ‘no clue’ on PR

Or Horgan is deliberately hiding his intentions.

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Clear skies for Fraser Blues Remembrance Day flyby

It was the first time the formation team flew over the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Remembrance Day ceremonies

Most fatal overdose victims did not have recent police contact: Stats Canada

11 per cent of those who fatally overdosed in B.C. had four or more contacts with the police

5 to start your day

One left dead after Abbotsford shooting, touching note left on Langley veteran’s windshield and more

Calgarians head to the polls to declare ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on Winter Games

The question “are you for or are you against hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?” was to be posed to them Tuesday in a plebiscite to help determine whether the city should move ahead with a bid.

Heir’s big birthday: 70 candles lined up for Prince Charles

Prince Charles turns 70 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, still serving in the heir to the throne role he has filled since he was a young child.

Trudeau lays down challenge to companies in bid to boost trade with Asia

“Building the relationships, building the connections, building the facility and also changing mindsets — getting Canadian companies to see the opportunities we have around the world to partner and invest.”

One person sent to hospital after incident at Langley gas station

Police observed retrieving what appeared to be an exacto knife

CNN sues Trump, demanding return of Acosta to White House

CNN is asking for an immediate restraining order to return Acosta to the White House.

Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Most Read