BRANDON, MB – A Brandon University (BU) instructor and respected elder has been recognized by the Manitoba government as the Aboriginal Educator of the Month.
Kevin Tacan, from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation west of Brandon, is a sessional instructor with BU’s Native Studies department, teaching the Dakota language. Tacan is a BU alumnus, graduating in 2012 with a BA 4 year Honours, and is currently in the midst of completing a Master’s Degree in Rural Development. Since 1996, he has been employed with the Brandon School Division as Elder and Counselor.
“Language is the cornerstone of a culture,” says Tacan. “Hidden within the language are counseling systems, kinship, history and ceremony. Without it, we would cease to be a tribal group. I believe I have a responsibility to help students realize that.”
In 1975, Brandon University became the first university in western Canada to create a Native Studies department and continues to offer innovative, relevant programming including North America’s first undergraduate course combining traditional knowledge with the clinical skills necessary for counselors to develop the cultural competencies to work with Aboriginal people and communities.
“Kevin Tacan represents the opportunities available through education,” says BU’s Acting Vice-President (Academic and Provost), Dr. Heather Duncan. “Working as a counselor, he realized that many challenges faced by Aboriginal students could be traced back to a loss of traditional language. He returned to university to finish his degree with the goal of becoming a Dakota language teacher, and since 2012 has been teaching one of the three Aboriginal languages offered at BU. Kevin is highly deserving of this recognition and we are very proud of his contributions to Aboriginal student success.”
Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.
For more information, please contact:
BU Department of Native Studies, and
Elder, Brandon School Division