Hagwil Yaan Student newsletter | September 2023

Welcome to another issue of Hagwil Yaan!

Welcome back to Hagwil Yaan! If this is your first time here, volume three of this student newsletter has a new name which means "walk softly; walk slowly" in Sm'algyax! We use this name as we understand that returning to life after the pandemic can still require caution and awareness.

In each issue, we focus on an Indigenous language in our region. This month, we are happy to feature Gitxsanimx the language of the Gitxsan people! We hope Lasa gangwiikw (September) brings ama lax ha (good weather) and hloxs (sun). Ama lax ha (good weather) always means we can enjoy the outdoors in this beautiful lax̱yip (land) that we are so lucky to live on.

To all of our new students, we welcome you to Coast Mountain College. We wish you all the success in your new educational journey with us. Welcome back to the returning students. As First Nations Access Coordinators, we are here to provide you support during your time with us. As the new semester begins, we are very pleased to be able to present each Indigenous student with an Indigenous Student Handbook. It will have all the information you need to successfully start off the semester. Please feel free to reach out to us at FNAC@coastmountaincollege.ca if you need support with personal, financial or academic issues. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Enjoy, take care and stay safe!

Meet the FNAC's: Top Left to Right - Jillian Swank (Terrace Campus) & Kellie Nyce (Hazelton campus); Bottom Left to Right - Sharon Oskey (Rupert Campus) & Katie Humphrey (Smithers Campus)

Fall 2023 Semester

Here is a CMTN Student Success Checklist to ensure you have a successful semester. Please feel free to reach out to us if you need assistance with any of the areas listed below! You got this!

The road to success is in your hands!

Check out the new 'Connection is Indigenous' Handbook

New or returning students can check this out for supports and resources to utilize while attending courses at CMTN! The First Nations Access Coordinators are here for you. Reach out anytime to fnac@coastmountaincollege.ca

Online version can be viewed here on the website or with the QR code

Highlights of Recent Events

Rattle Making Workshop

Rattle Making in Progress! We had a great time on June 19/20th making rattles for National Indigenous People's Month!

Indigenous Peoples Day

Every day is a good day to be Indigenous! Checking out Indigenous Peoples Day Activities in Smithers.

Saiyt g̱oodintxwt (Harvest) Spotlight

How is your traditional food gathering going this summer? Have you been smoking, canning or freezer packing? As we come into Lasa gangwiikw, we are welcoming the last run of salmon and the berry season. Traditionally in the Northwest, this month brings:

  • Eeḵ' Coho
  • Miig̱an Blueberries
  • Loo'ts Elderberries
  • Misḵ'o' Thimbleberries
  • Snax̱ Hawthorn Berries
  • Apils Crab Apples
  • g̱ayda ts'uuts' Mushrooms
  • Nax̱naax̱ Ducks/Geese
  • Later in the month, we will see the moose season open!

How does your community use these monthly harvests? If you are harvesting, please be sure to harvest with a good heart and take only what you need. Please seek permission to harvest on lands that belong to different communities and/or clans. As always, give thanks to the land for providing yet another delicious gift!

FNAC Katie starting to process Coho!

Upcoming Events

Gitlaxdax Sayt Kilim Goothl Nisga'a Dancers Practice

Everyone is welcome to join in or watch!

If you are thinking about joining, please reach out to FNAC Jill at jswank@coastmountaincollege.ca

The Travelling Feast Bowl

Photos courtesy of CMTN Communications

Did you know the FNAC's have a traveling Feast Bowl? The Feast bowl was created in early April 2023 by Nisga'a artist, Robert Davis. He just finished his 1st year of First Nations Fine Arts. There is: Killer Whale, Frog, Eagle, and Wolf on the bowl. The Feast Bowl was brought to life at the Farewell Feast at the Terrace campus in April 2023. The Feast Bowl was placed at the head table for all to see at the learning feast and will now accompany learning feast events for years to come! T'oyaxsii' 'niin, Rob!

Welcome Back Learning Feast

The FNAC Team welcomes all students, staff, and faculty to the Smithers campus for our Welcome Back Learning Feast!

Students RSVP to FNAC@coastmountaincollege.ca to receive a wellness bag full of goodies including sleghï (eulachon grease) and beh (dried salmon strips) that will be distributed at the end of the feast!

Enjoy a wonderful welcome message from CMTN President Dr. Laurie Waye to welcome you to the feast:

Orange Shirt Day & National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

"In the Arms of the Ancestors" by Shawna Kiesman

Shawna Kiesman is a Tsm’syen/Nisga’a artist who created the above beautiful design we are using on our Orange Shirt t-shirts. She was born in Prince Rupert and raised in Victoria, B.C. She holds a diploma in First Nations Fine Arts from the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

T'oyaxsii' 'niin (thank you), Shawna for providing such a captivating design! We will wear it with honour. We will never forget the resiliency of Indigenous communities and their way of life.

The FNAC Team has a limited supply of Orange Shirts available for registered students in time for September 30. Please send your request to FNAC@coastmountaincollege.ca before September 15, 2023, with your name, student number, campus location, and size for pickup. T-shirts will be distributed the week of September 25, 2023.

Orange Shirt Day Events & Activities on Campus

  • September 25: Tables set-up at each campus to pick up Orange Shirts.
  • October 2: National Day of Truth & Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day Statutory Holiday - campuses closed.

If there is a cultural activity or an idea that you have that you'd like to see happening at CMTN, please feel free to email us at FNAC@coastmountaincollege.ca!

What Would Ts’iits’ Say

Nits'iit's (grandmother) always has bittersweet feelings when they see you leaving for school. They are always sad to see you go but so proud of you for taking on new challenges. Nits'iit's would be so happy to see you after being away at school. Here some Gitxsan phrases to brush up on before your visit next time you go home. Visits with your Ts'iits' and Niye' (grandfather) can be medicine for the soul.

Aguhl gya'an? What did you see?

Am goodii' heehl gaanaye'itxwi'm I remember what our grandfather said.

Amg̱oogithl wildiit giik'uuhl What they did in the past was nice/enjoyable (to see)

Amg̱oogiit dim 'nax'nisxwii'y What I will listen to will sound good/nice/enjoyable

Anoog̱ii'y wen sim algyaxi'm I like it when we speak our language

Find more Gitxsan phrases like these to practice using First Voices!

Nosh with Niye'

Check out this video with Leonard and Arlene Bryant as they cook up some delicious traditional foods! They gather all of their own traditional food and preserve it. In this video, they show how to cook k'al moos (crab), smoked saak (eulachon) and swink (herring eggs). The food looks so delicious! T'oyaxsii' 'nisim, Lenny and Arlene for sharing with us!

Your weekly meme!

Captured from Tony's Takeaway on FB

Check out Tony's Take Away Food Truck in Witset or on their Facebook page! Support your Local Indigenous owner, Tony Naziel.

Indigenous Reads

Photo captured on Huson's Website

The Raven Mother

Ravens have many roles, both for the land and in Gitxsan story and song. The sixth book in Hetxw'ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson)’s Mothers of Xsan series transports young readers to Northwestern British Columbia, where they will learn about the traditions of the Gitxsan, the lives of ravens, and why these acrobatic flyers are so important to their ecosystem.

Follow along as Nox Gaak, the raven mother, teaches her chicks what they need to survive with the help of her flock.

Purchase a copy today through Portage & Main Press!

COVID-19: Golden Rules on Campus

  • If you're sick, stay home and get tested
  • Masks as of March 14, 2022 are now optional in all indoor public spaces at CMTN.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly; Use hand sanitizer when it's available
  • Cover your face when you cough or sneeze
  • As restrictions lift for space limitations, it is important to acknowledge that some are still practising careful social contact. Please be considerate.

At Coast Mountain College, we monitor the COVID-19 situation very closely and are guided by the Provincial Health Officer as we work with the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. Updates will be shared as information becomes available. Please note removal of vaccinations requirements effective April 8, 2022 to access events and services and for post-secondary student housing.

Student Support

Coast Mountain Students' Union

Golnoosh Namazi, organiser for the Coast Mountain Students’ Union, is here to support students with events, services and advocacy. If you’re having trouble understanding your rights as a student, navigating through school procedures and policies or engaging in campus life then the Students’ Union is here to support you. Download the CMSU app for virtual community boards, services and support systems in your region.

To learn more about what the student union does, email CMSU at:

CMSU Health & Dental Plan

Please be aware of the CMSU Health & Dental Plan that you are auto-enrolled into when you register for 6 or more unit courses in a semester.

This is a $275 annual fee that students can choose to opt-out of if you already have coverage. You have 30 days to opt-out from your program start. Connect with organiser@mycmsu.ca for more details.

Learner Services

Peer Tutoring

The Writing Centre is open on Terrace campus! Staffed by peer tutors. Students can drop-in for 1:1 assistance with proofreading, using citations and other writing skills every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Waap Amgam (House of Cedar) RM #1006.

Peer-tutoring is up and running with tutors available to assist students in a variety of subjects including chemistry, biology and math. Interested? Contact LAS@coastmountaincollege.ca!

LAS & Advising Help

Having a hard time academically? We can connect you with the Learner Services team to make sure you have even more tools to complete your studies successfully.

One-on-one Brightspace Help — If navigating and using Brightspace is making your course more difficult to manage, let us help!

Our Learning Assistance Specialists (LAS) are available to walk you through the finer points of Brightspace so you can focus on your coursework.

Need tutoring? Check out TUTORME! A new, on-demand virtual service with access to over 1000+ tutors in 300+ subjects. Writing support is available as well. All CMTN students can access this service for two hours a week for free!

To contact the Learner Support Team & Accessibility Services for appointments, email las@coastmountaincollege.ca.

Financial Aid

Coast Mountain College offers an emergency funding program available to eligible students experiencing unexpected financial hardship during the course of their studies at CMTN. Find more information about emergency financial assistance HERE!

Next General Awards Deadline: October 15, 2023

Have any financial aid questions or would like to know more about general awards, bursaries, and scholarships? Connect with the Financial Aid Officer, Allison Conway at 250.635.6511 ext. 5204 or email financialaid@coastmountaincollege.ca or visit the Financial Aid webpage!

Mental Health Check-in

Are you looking for support? Here at CMTN, we can help you explore and find what support works best for you. Follow this LINK to find resources like regional counsellors, mobile apps, and crisis lines.

Look out for these cards on campus with this information to keep on hand!

Need support right now?

  • Youth Online Chat at crisis-centre.ca or text 250.564.8336 or call 1.888.564.8336. A confidential, anonymous peer support service operated by trained youth answering calls from other youth. Available 24/7.
  • KUU-US Crisis Line Help is just a phone call away. Call the toll-free number for Indigenous based support 25/7, 365: 1.800.588.8717
  • BC Suicide Line 1.800.SUICIDE or 1.800.784.2433. If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may, please call! Available 24/7.
  • Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience. Call 1.866.925.4419.
Be there.org
On behalf of the First Nations Access Coordinators, we welcome you to reach out any time!
Thank you for enjoying the first issue of Volume 3: Hagwil yaan!

Stay connected and check out our FNAC Facebook group to keep your finger on the pulse!

Have something you want to contribute for next month's issue?

If you have any feedback, story ideas or pictures to share, please contact us:


Connection is Indigenous!