King’s and MSVU welcome first Auntie in Residence

King's and MSVU welcome first Auntie in Residence

Emily Pictou-Roberts, Auntie-in-Residence provides support for Indigenous studentsThe University of King’s College and Mount Saint Vincent University are pleased to welcome Emily Pictou-Roberts as the first Resident Nsukwi’ (Auntie in Residence) serving both universities.

Emily is from the Mi’kmaw community of Millbrook First Nation. She began in her new role at the end of October 2022, believed to be the first university-based Indigenous Auntie-in-Residence role in Atlantic Canada.

As Auntie-in-Residence, Emily provides cultural, emotional and spiritual support for Indigenous students at MSVU and at the University of King’s College. She serves as a mentor to students and ensures the application of Indigenous perspectives, knowledge and approaches in support of student wellness and community building. Through individualized and group programming, she also shares knowledge about Indigenous ceremony and culture.

Emily brings to her Auntie-in-Residence role a wealth of experience working with Indigenous youth. She prioritizes listening and is a skilled community builder. She works one day a week from each of the MSVU and King’s campuses.

Emily previously worked at the Millbrook Cultural and Heritage Centre and has experience working with Mi’kmaw youth. She is a graduate of King’s (BA Honours in Early Modern Studies and History) and the Nova Scotia Community College (Library Information and Technology).

“Education is important in our communities today, but it is rarely accessible or safe for many of our people,” said Emily. “As resident Auntie at MSVU and King’s, my ultimate goal is to foster a safe and welcoming community for L’nu students by facilitating access to information and supports, sharing Indigenous knowledge, providing opportunity for ceremony, and serving as an advocate.”

“As a university that prioritizes support for Indigenous students and the advancement of women, we are delighted to welcome Auntie-in-Residence Emily Roberts in partnership with King’s,” said Dr. Joël Dickinson, President and Vice-Chancellor, Mount Saint Vincent University. “The idea to establish an Auntie-in-Residence program came out of conversations in truth and reconciliation with the L’nu Advisory Circle at MSVU and I am grateful to our Indigenous community members and leaders for their guidance. Emily’s deep knowledge and supportive approach will be of great benefit to Indigenous students at both MSVU and King’s. Welcome, Emily.”

“King’s is so pleased to welcome alum Emily Roberts to this shared role,” said University of King’s College President William Lahey. “One of the key themes of our consultations with Mi’kmaw leaders is the importance of providing support and encouragement that affirms Indigenous identity. Indigenous students attending King’s and Mount Saint Vincent University will benefit from the guidance, support and caring that Emily will offer and we are very grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with MSVU in making things better for Indigenous students at both of our universities.”

Additional Indigenous student support staff at MSVU include: an Indigenous Student Services Coordinator and Special Advisor on Indigenous Affairs (both at MSVU), while King’s students have access to the Indigenous Student Advisors at neighbouring Dalhousie University.

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