For Atlantic University Sport executive director Phil Currie, the timing seemed appropriate.
On the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, AUS has named Brady Paul, an Indigenous former student athlete, as the new chair of its equity, diversity and inclusion committee.
"I think Brady is the perfect person to step in and fill that role," said Currie. "He's a very dynamic young man and we are thrilled to have him on board with us."
Paul grew up on the St. Mary's First Nation near Fredericton and went on to play football at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., and Saint Mary's University in Halifax.
Paving the way
"I lived in St. Mary's First Nation my entire life and then at 18 years old, I packed a bag and headed to a new community in another province. I really missed that connection to home," said Paul, 28.
"It was a huge shift and a big adjustment period."
Paul played university football from 2011 to 2015. He now works as the Indigenous community and cultural liaison co-ordinator for the Nova Scotia Community College and is working toward a master's degree in Atlantic Canadian studies at Saint Mary's University.
In his new role with AUS, he is hoping to make transitions easier for underrepresented and Indigenous student athletes as they leave home and begin their university sports careers.
"At the time when I went to university, there were no connections or no support in place and it was very hard to talk about personal things, especially when you are an Indigenous athlete like I was," said Paul.
"I never wanted to be stereotyped or stigmatized."
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