New Director Announced for First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University


New position created to service expansion of Indigenous student enrolment

Thursday, January 6, 2011, Peterborough

Trent University is pleased to announce that Joeann Argue has been appointed the new director of the First Peoples House of Learning, a new position which will be responsible for Indigenous student services throughout Trent.

Ms. Argue brings over ten years experience working directly with issues facing Indigenous persons at Trent University and would like to see Trent become the University of choice for Indigenous students. “Learning is what we do,” states Ms. Argue. “Come and visit. Ask questions. Participate.”

Under the new direction of Ms. Argue, the First Peoples House of Learning will encompass existing Indigenous student services, programs and spaces; activities of the Aboriginal counsellor and the cultural affairs coordinator; programs such as the Elder’s Gathering, Aboriginal Women’s Symposium, Pine Tree Talks and Visiting Traditional Teachers; and spaces such as the Benedict Gathering space, the Nozhem performance space, the tipi, lecture hall, and atrium.

“The First Peoples House of Learning is an evolving place,” says Ms. Argue. “It is a visible home for Trent’s Indigenous community and a base of operations for Indigenous affairs for the University.”

Previously, services required by Indigenous students were addressed by the Indigenous Studies Department. “That made sense for a long time,” explains Professor David Newhouse, chair of Indigenous Studies, “because the vast majority of Indigenous students were enrolled in Indigenous Studies. That is no longer the case. Indigenous students are now in many disciplines across the University, which was one of the goals of the Trent Aboriginal Education Council set a decade ago. We can now celebrate meeting that goal and move forward with the provision of services and support for a diverse indigenous student community. This new approach, common now at many universities, represents a significant change from 41 years of previous practice.”

The newly appointed director, Ms. Argue hopes the First Peoples House of Learning can become a place of belonging for Indigenous students, where they can feel excited about being at Trent and obtain support for academic achievement and success. Ms. Argue’s vision also involves helping Indigenous students to have a voice within Trent: “I want Indigenous students to feel that they have a voice while they are here and that they do matter,” Ms. Argue adds.

Ms. Argue would like everyone in the university to be a part of the First Peoples House of Learning, and invites the Trent community to its welcoming atmosphere. “There’s a lot going on here and all are welcome. I hope that other departments will feel inclined to partner with us here on various initiatives and to partake of a wide variety of guest lectures, events and workshops. Our success is everyone’s success.”


For more information, please contact: Joeann Argue, director of the First Peoples House of Learning, (705) 748-1011 ext 7612,