Nathan Jackson: Meet Fanshawe's new First Nations Student Association president
Credit: GEORGE MARAGOS
Fanshawe's new First Nations Student Association president, Nathan Jackson has big plans for the year and hopes to make a difference for those around him.
Jackson came from the Chippewas Kettle and Stony Point First Nation Community before moving to London as a child. Jackson explained that instead of calling them “reserves” (short for reservations), they should be called Indigenous Communities.
“Reservation sounds like you’re calling it what it was made to be and trying to turn it into something that it’s not. We aren’t trying to turn it into what it was made to be, but into something better,” said Jackson.
A philosophy of using what you have and making something better is a consistent theme throughout Indigenous culture, as is exemplified in the story of the history of frybread.
“The five gifts of sin given by the queen were: salt, lard, flour, sugar, and milk. They were called ‘the gifts of sin’ because they were meant to kill off Indigenous people. Given only these ingredients it was thought people wouldn’t be able to make anything; instead we made a gift out of it,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s inspiration to run for president came to him at an end of the year party last year.
“I spoke with some of the staff at [Fanshawe’s] First Nations Centre to find out more about events and how to get involved. [Then] I was hired as an Indigenous Student Ambassador over the summer and created a S.T.E.A.M. camp (an acronym meaning science, technology, engineering, art and math) which promotes higher learning,” Jackson said.
The camp was held here on campus, at Oneida, and Chippewas on the Thames; one week at each location, for Indigenous youth grades three to eight. According to Jackson they designed fun learning activities for the youth such as terrariums made out of water bottles and motorized cars created using CD-ROM drives just to name a few of the inventions. Apparently the program was so well received they were invited back for an encore the following weeks, and Jackson has reportedly been offered a position at Oneida this summer as well.
There are a number of initiatives which Jackson is focused on in his new role as president.
“I have a vision that I want to see the First Nations Centre be more than it already is. I don’t think anyone else has the ideas that I do. I chose to be a leader, I want to see something done and I’m going to get it done,” Jackson declared.
From this president you can expect to see structure and communication to bring awareness to the First Nations Centre.
“For me it’s important to advocate for Indigenous people because it’s my culture. My first objective will be to develop a type of inschool activity to teach the story of ‘the five gifts of sin’ as well as how to make frybread. There will also be fundraising. Some ideas may be a car wash or a beading day, where we’d setup a table in the hallway to make aboriginal necklaces and jewellery,” Jackson said.
Ultimately Jackson would like to make himself available for any status, non-status, First Nations, Inuit, or Metis Indigenous students to reach out to him if with any ideas, or if you’d like to get involved email him at firstname.lastname@example.org , and stop by the First Nation’s Centre A1047 or call 519-452-4430 x4619.