Faculty Stories: Meet Jennifer Anaquod

What Nation are you from?

I’m Anishnaabe and Nihiyaw- from a community called Muscowpetung First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory. But I’ve grown up here as a guest on Coast Salish territories. For most of my life, I have lived around California and Washington state. I am a current Ph.D. candidate, a curriculum studies and also a sessional instructor with NITEP, and I’ve taught in the teacher education program as well. I’ve taught some of the 4th-year program and some master’s level courses as well. And then I have some other jobs that are outside of the UBC.


What do you like best to be part of the NITEP?

My favourite part of being part of NITEP is it feels like family. I am a NITEP graduate, and NITEP became my family during my educational journey and has remained a large part of my family. My son is a NITEP baby and it is just a large part of my extended family.


What is your favourite place on campus?

I guess it really depends on the time of year… but in the Rose Garden in the summertime, the view,  stopping to smell the roses and watching everybody else in just some peaceful moments is always enjoyable.


What is your favourite snack to get on campus?

My favourite snack to get on campus is fries and gravy from Vanier. So usually with a friend, sharing some fries and gravy and just having some of those quiet moments that you don’t always get.


Do you have any recommended study places for students?

The Xwi7xwa Library is always nice, but I always encourage students to explore and to hunt out some of those quiet spots that may not be known by everybody, and then not to tell anybody. It is their secret getaway spot so they know that they can find a safe, quiet space to study when they want.


Can you tell us one thing you love to do when you’re off work?

When I’m off work… well, I like swimming, so I spend a lot of time swimming in the summertime at the beach. Anytime I can get outside, I really enjoy. And I love camping.


What would you like NITEP students to know about you?

For the NITEP students, I would like them to know I have a little bit of information about everything. So, if they need some information about something, whether it is a scholarship or how to get a free textbook or where to find the best coffee in Vancouver, I have a little bit of information about everything, and I have a lot of community relationships with other institutions, so I can always help them find those. Maybe a missing electives that they need to take over the summertime that is not being offered at UBC!



Can you talk about your academic journey so far?

Well, it started kind of a long time ago, but I moved back to BC in the early 2000s and needed to go back to school. So, I went back to Native Education College and renewed my ECE license and realized that I wanted to do more. There was something more than I wanted because it wasn’t feeling as fulfilling as it once did, so I found out about NITEP. Then I applied to NITEP and graduated from NITEP with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary. I knew there was still something more that I wanted to do. I didn’t quite feel like I had finished my journey. So, I started teaching at Native Education college at that time instead of in the K – 12 classroom teaching adults. I went back and applied for my diploma in Early Learning at UBC because I was teaching in the Early Childhood program at NEC, and I applied for my Master’s degree. While waiting to get into my Master’s program, I finished my diploma. And then, I did a Master’s in curriculum in leadership. So, it was a joint program with Ed Studies and EDCP, and I still wasn’t quite like I was finished. So, I have gone on to (hopefully) complete my Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies.  I am looking at displacement of Indigenous peoples from the Plains and the ways that are being used to keep stories alive, mostly in digital spaces.


What strategies did you use to be successful in university?

I did a lot of juggling! So I had a 20-year-old daughter, who was a teenager at the time, and I had my son in my second year of NITEP. A lot of struggling and juggling together. So, I learned to reach out to different people and ask for support, and know that I needed to vocalize when I was having a hard time. Throughout that, I learned that there were lots of people around me to support me, and I took advantage of that support. I created a lot of great friendships and relationships in those places that have stayed with me. But one thing I did was I would set aside all weekend to study. So, I would focus on my family during the week and then on Saturdays, I would pack up my son, who was a baby at that time, and sometimes my daughter, and we would head out to UBC. We would study until late at night in the longhouse or the library, and then we would come back home and do the same thing on the weekend. And we took a lot of breaks, lots of walks, and had some downtime in there, but that allowed me not to feel overwhelmed like school was taking over my life. So, I would work, take care of my family during the week, go to classes and then on the weekend, I would just focus on getting my schoolwork done.


What do you like best about teaching at NITEP?

The sense of community! And I love everything I learn from the students, and I always tell the students back that I’m just there to help facilitate what they already know. They come into NITEP with so much knowledge, so much information, and so many of their strengths that I am just there to help them facilitate what they already know to get through the program. So, I learn so much from each and every one of our students every year, and it just adds to my own continued learning. I am so appreciative that they are willing to share all of the knowledge that they carry with them into the classroom.


What is the best way to study for your class?

Make sure that you are reading all the announcements! And that you looked at all the notes that are in. Canvas and that you just show up and are ready to listen and to engage. The most important stuff that we do, I think, is in that those conversations that were having in class.



When did you know you wanted to be an educator?

I was not an Educator in my early career, but my daughter’s godparents offered me a job working in their private childcare/kindergarten, and I fell in love with teaching. But it wasn’t quite what I wanted. That is why I went back to school, and the moment that I started teaching adults, I knew that is where I fit. So I always knew that I always wanted to teach, I just didn’t quite know what I wanted to teach until after I had graduated. And I always tell the students that in thinking about where they go for their observation placement in the third year and where they go on their community field experience… to think about education outside of the K – 12 classroom because there are so many amazing opportunities out there, and they might find the perfect fit for themselves by accident.


Can you tell us one moment you felt inspired by the student?

The moment I felt inspired by students, I think, is almost anytime I have watched their presentations when they are doing teaching presentations and seeing the innovation and the knowledge that they’re bringing in. But I think the most inspirational moments are watching them pass through the Ceremonial Door at the longhouse during graduation. And so, the look of sheer joy that is on their face and knowing that they made it is just amazing. And then I guess also seeing them out when I run into them out in the Community, and I get to see all the wonderful things are doing after graduation. It is always so wonderful. I guess that’s three- not just one. (laughs)


Are there any resources at NITEP you would recommend that could help the Indigenous student be successful?

I think the most beneficial resources are our staff- just like Natalie, Alexis, and everyone that is there, and not just that we can help people navigate the resources, but the relationships and the support from each other in asking each other “Where I should do this or do you want to do this together?” So, I think NITEP relationships are one of the most powerful resources and the most beautiful part.


What is a food resource that’s that could be accessed by students?

A great resource for food that I really encourage students to go to is the UBC Foodbank, as it’s such an easily accessible resource. If you have a family, they will give you two full bags. If you are an individual, you can get one bag of food. There’s no judgement. It’s a judgment-free zone and I think as a student I used the Foodbank, and I would encourage all students to use that. And the other one is Quest, and Quest is a not-for-profit organization in the Lower Mainland. It doesn’t matter where you live- in Surrey, Burnaby, Vancouver, or Richmond. Quest is super incredible, they always have some frozen meats, lots of kinds of non-meat products, vegetarian products, pasta, and baby products, and they are affordable enough that you can get a couple of big bags for $20 that will easily last a week. The third resource I will talk to you is about Dress for Success. If you are getting ready to go into your observation practicums or your long practicum and don’t have appropriate clothes, we can set you one with an appointment to Dress for Success, and they will outfit you in what they call an interview outfit.