Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) graduates can now receive their diploma in both the Indigenous language of Kwantlen First Nation and English.
KPU is one of the few universities in Canada to include Indigenous language in the diploma parchment. The diploma will feature a blend of English and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (HUN-kuh-MEE-num), translated by Fern Gabriel, a member of Kwantlen First Nation and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language teacher with the Langley School District.
The move is part of the polytechnic’s reconciliation efforts and aims to raise awareness of the traditional language of the territories and encourage respect for the land-based Nations.
According to KPU’s media release, graduates from the 2022 fall semester will be the first to receive this new version.
Zena Mitchell, associate vice-president of enrolment services and registrar at KPU, said KPU is always committed to reconciling with the Kwantlen First Nation, and this initiative is an important step to honour the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, and “send our graduates off in a good way.”
Natalie Wood-Wiens, manager of Indigenous services at KPU, first brought the concept of an Indigenous language diploma and received support from the university’s Indigenous advisory committee.
“Students who graduate KPU with a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language parchment will now have something that further connects them to the Nations on whose land the university resides,” Wood-Wiens said.
The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language can also be found around KPU campuses at student service counters and on building signs, as well as in some institutional documents.