“Each of you is carrying forward a rich legacy of Indigenous student success at McGill”


Spring convocation season got off to a joyful start May 27 with McGill’s Scarf Ceremony, honouring 87 First Nations, Inuit and Métis graduates.


The virtual event was hosted by First Peoples’ House and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and attended by guests from near and far.


Special guests included Elder Charlie Otsitsakenra Patton, who opened and closed the ceremony, and Celeste Pedri-Spade (Associate Provost, Indigenous Initiatives), who praised the graduates for their efforts.


“Each of you is carrying forward a rich legacy of Indigenous student success at McGill,” said Pedri-Spade. “Wherever you are now, I send you my warmest and most sincere congratulations.”


Keynote address


Michelle Kennedy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies and Education, gave the keynote address.


“You made it, and we’re here to celebrate you,” said Kennedy.


“You are your ancestors’ wildest dreams. So, as you go into the future and meet challenges, remember that you’re a living dream, and a success. If anyone tries to bring you down, you just take that graduate scarf, flap it over your back like a cape, and keep on persevering.”


Sharing words of wisdom


After the reading of the graduates’ names, participants were invited to speak to the group.


Among them were six graduates who had gathered to celebrate.


“We’d just like to say that this is an honour, and we feel very privileged and proud,” said one group member who has earned a master of arts. “It was some journey, but we made it, and we’re very proud of ourselves.”


All six donned the red scarves for Indigenous graduates created by Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) designer Tammy Beauvais.


“Those scarves, they get me so emotional,” said Sarah Rourke, Director, Indigenous Health Professions Programs, shortly afterward. “I’m just grateful to walk alongside all of you and offer my support. You killed it, you succeeded, you made it, and you’re here. I’m very proud of each and every one of you.”


The event also included words from Carola Weil, Dean of the School of Continuing Studies; Victoria Talwar, Interim Dean, Faculty of Education; and Manual Balán, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts. Singer Theresa Bear Fox performed during the ceremony.