The first day of college or university can be nerve-racking for a lot of students. Adjusting to new surroundings and trying to navigate your way through crowded halls are just some of the pitfalls at a city campus.

 Steve Kootenay-Jobin, the Indigenous housing and events coordinator at Mount Royal University’s Iniskim Centre, explains that life on campus can be even more challenging for Indigenous students.

“We do have a lot of struggles and especially first-generation university students, especially when it comes to socio-economic need and cultural identity,” he says.

The Calgary Journal recently spoke with Kootenay-Jobin, Jacob Lightning and Jonas Maclaurin, two Indigenous students at MRU, about their experiences.

Listen to the podcast here: 

PHOTO TWO voices web

Jacob Lightning (left), Steve Kootenay-Jobin and Jonas Maclaurin (right) tell stories of managing culture shock and racism at MRU. The three connect at MRU’s Iniskim Centre where support is provided to Indigenous students who make up 5.8 per cent of the student population at MRU. Photo by Monique LaBossiere

Lightning and Maclaurin have faced some challenges when it came to adjusting to university life.

“I felt really unprepared,” notes Lightning, who is from the Morley reserve which is west of Calgary.

Lightning and Maclaurin both drew support from the Iniskim Centre when dealing with the racism and culture shock they experienced first coming to MRU.

In partnership with the Iniskim Centre at Mount Royal University, the Calgary Journal presents ‘Raising Reconciliation’ — a series of podcasts and news stories focused on Indigenous voices in our community.

Editor: Brian Cortez |

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