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Exchange student Lene Trunjer immersed herself in a First Nations group on the island of Manitoulin
[Edited version of article, courtesy of Anishinabek News]
“What I found at Manitoulin was balance and my own position in how to be a voice. I no longer feel frustrated, more focused and with a feeling that my thesis and path is the right one”.
The words of Lene Trunjer, a Danish exchange student, inspired by an experience through the Canadian Roots Exchange while studying abroad. Manitoulin island is the home of the indigenous community of M’Chigeeng First Nation.
CRE offers participants an in-depth experience in Aboriginal communities, organizations, and schools. Participants are immersed within the historical and contemporary contexts that shape everyday Indigenous lives.
“I also found inspiration from the teachers/role models/people we met, and their commitment to help the youth finding identity and roots,” adds Trunjer who was one of 16 participants.
“Talking about where you come from and how past experience can help you being rooted in yourself was for me also a personal reflection. It was important for me to hear because I too search for my own roots and to see my path more clearly. The engagement the teachers/role models/people had for their community was admirable and inspirational and made me think a lot about how I see my own world.”
Trunjer is from Næstved, Denmark and attends both McMaster University and University of Copenhagen in a Masters program focusing on the Art of Comparative Literature. She has plans to finish next June with writing a thesis in First Nation literature with a political and contemporary view.
“I would say that it was important for me to get out of the classroom and be with other people for a week. I will recommend the CRE-exchange to anyone who is occupied with how we see culture.
I found it compelling how listening to teachings and hearing other peoples’ stories helped me to see people and finding reconciliation. My week at Manitoulin proved for me how powerful ‘being together’ can be when we stand together. The people at M’Chigeeng and the other First Nation communities were very welcoming and it felt like being part of an extended family, which was really nice and it made me grow.”
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