A Brandon University instructor and respected elder is being recognized by the Manitoba government.
Kevin Tacan of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation has been named aboriginal educator of the month.
Tacan is a sessional instructor with BU’s native studies department, where he teaches the Dakota language.
"Language is the cornerstone of a culture," Tacan said in a release Monday. "Hidden within the language are counselling 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."
Tacan is a BU alumnus, graduating in 2012, 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 an elder and counsellor.
"Kevin Tacan represents the opportunities available through education," said BU’s acting vice-president academic and provost, Heather Duncan, adding Tacan currently teaches one of three aboriginal language classes offered at BU.
"Working as a counsellor, he realized that many challenges faced by aboriginal students could be traced back to a loss of traditional language," she said.
"Kevin is highly deserving of this recognition and we are very proud of his contributions to aboriginal student success."
In 1975, BU became the first university in Western Canada to create a native studies department, which continues to offer relevant programming including North America’s first undergraduate course that combines traditional knowledge with clinical skills necessary for counsellors to work with aboriginal people and communities.
» Brandon Sun