Camosun College is celebrating one of its former students for not just creating a pathway for their family to follow in their footsteps, but also one many other Indigenous students have followed in the years since.
By setting an example 25 years ago, Karla Point made space for two more generations of the Point family to attend, with her son Jason and granddaughter Naviana both attending the school after her.
“I was raised around people who valued post-secondary,” said Naviana, who has accepted a seat in Camosun’s University Transfer program for Arts and Science, in a release from the school. “My grandma would take me to her office at UVic, my dad would take me to university with him. I dreamt about being a fancy college student, with a college notebook and a college hoodie.”
Naviana’s father Jason enrolled at Camosun in 2002, graduating with a diploma in First Nations community studies before completing a degree in psychology at UVic. Her grandmother Karla earned a diploma in criminal justice in 1996, went on to law school, and is now the Indigenous resurgence coordinator for the Faculty of Fine Arts at UVic, where she works on indigenization and decolonization.
“I’m always encouraging Indigenous students to push for higher education,” said Karla, whose family is of Hesquiaht and Sts’ailes-aht ancestry. “When I started at Camosun in the mid-’90s, there was no space for Indigenous students. I got onto the First Nations students’ association and my first goal was to get physical space for our students. We advocated very strongly and got the top floor of the Young Building. One of my achievements was getting that space for our students.”
Jason spent plenty of time in that space with Karla as a kid, which proved key in making him comfortable with the idea of attending college or university.
“There’s been so much growth, and room has been made for us,” Karla said. “Next generations are coming in and I’m so proud to see it happening.”
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