With his record of scholarly achievement and deep understanding of traditional knowledge combined with diverse professional experience and a vision of Aboriginal education, Cape Breton University (CBU) is pleased to welcome the new Principal of its Unama’ki College, Stephen Augustine. Augustine will build on CBU’s 35 year history of excellence in Aboriginal post-secondary education and help lead Unama’ki College into an exciting new era. Augustine’s role as principal began on January 7.
“I am delighted that Stephen Augustine has joined our campus community. Our success in the vital area of Aboriginal education and training is a result of our collaborative approach with Aboriginal community leaders both regionally and nationally. Stephen, with his impressive and diverse background, comes to CBU with a sharp understanding of the importance of education for development and change. His experience will impact strongly on the evolution of Unama’ki College, leading to an even more dynamic learning environment and continued growth opportunities for students, faculty and staff,” says Cape Breton University President John Harker.
Originally from Elsipogtog (Big Cove), New Brunswick, Augustine is a hereditary chief of the Signigtog region and a member of the Sante’ Mawi’omi (Grand Council). Since 1996 he has served as Curator of Ethnology for the Eastern Maritimes at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Augustine received his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Political Science from St. Thomas University in New Brunswick and his Master of Arts in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Augustine is admired for his storytelling abilities and for his rendering of the Mi’kmaw Creation Story, handed down to him by his grandmother Agnes Thomas Augustine (1898-1998), together with her deep knowledge of the land.
Augustine’s experience and personal philosophy will help strengthen Cape Breton University’s reputation as a leader in Aboriginal post-secondary education. “I am ready for a new challenge and one that links to my longstanding interest in the search for a middle ground in teaching and learning, one that is impactful but does not break the boundaries of both Indigenous and mainstream teaching. This is in some ways the fulfillment of my master’s thesis – or at least a pathway that is edging in the direction of innovative forms of education for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students,” says Augustine.
Cape Breton University has an Aboriginal alumni family of more than 500 graduates. Unama’ki College staff and faculty support and inspire CBU’s Aboriginal students and provide an opportunity for non-Aboriginal students to learn about the area’s rich Indigenous culture.
For more information on Unama’ki College visit www.cbu.ca/unamaki.