Aboriginal Student Centre changing name

University of Regina students, Raven Brass, left, and Pete Kytwayhat pose in front the Aboriginal Student Centre. The Centre will be changing its name on Nov. 28. Photo by Mick Favel

The Aboriginal Student Centre (ASC) is getting a new name following a government lead to replace an outdated term.

The ASC is located inside of the Research and Innovation Centre Building (RIC) on the University of Regina campus.

“Shortly after the federal government dropped ‘Aboriginal’ and switched to ‘Indigenous’ we knew now was the appropriate time [for a name change,]” said Misty Longman, the ASC manager.

The ASC name change was largely effected by the federal government’s 2015 name change of the “Department of Aboriginal Affairs Canada” to the “Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.”

“Aboriginal” was a term used to identify the First Nations, Metis and Inuit of Canada. “Ab” is a Latin prefix meaning “away from,” or “not,” translating the word “Aboriginal” to “not original.”

The process of the name change has gone through a number of channels at the University of Regina going back to 2015, said Longman. ASC staff changes have also played a part in the speed of the name change.

“Our [Centre] is very welcoming and inclusive,” said Raven Brass, University of Regina Student. “This place has guided me and has been a support system.”

The gold and metallic ASC sign hanging outside of the Centre will be replaced by a similar one but with silver replacing the gold said Longman. Also like the old sign, the new sign will include Cree syllabics. To accompany the name change the Centre has replaced all of its furniture.

Longman said the ASC followed Saskatchewan Polytech, a technical school in Regina, formally known as SIAST, in allowing the students to have input into naming their own spaces. Approximately 250 students responded and helped determine the new name.

“We just [don’t] want to change it to the ‘Indigenous Student’s Centre’ because we really want to articulate what the space [means,]” said Longman.

Longman said there is a misconception on campus that the ASC is just for Aboriginal students, and exchanging “Aboriginal” for “Indigenous” does not dismantle the misconception.

“We have a diverse group of students,” said Longman. “All of these people when they come together and create this community in the Students’ Centre is what makes it special.”

The new name will be unveiled outside of the ASC on 28 November at 11:00 AM. A pipe ceremony will take place before the unveiling. Tea and bannock will be provided and the public is welcome.

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