Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kohkom Bea’s Cafe on Oct. 27. FNUniv Facebook photo.
by Cole Cappo
It’s been about a decade since the students and staff at First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) had an on-campus cafe and the wait is over.
Last month, Kohkom Bea’s reopened to much fanfare.
“For many students, including myself, having a campus cafeteria is a place of comfort, knowing there is accessibility to grab a bite between classes and participate in the collective campus experience,” said Fearence Francis, an FNUniv business administration student.
“The presence of such a space can contribute to a sense of belonging and community within [FNUniv], which is a critical factor for emotional well-being and can positively impact academic success for students.”
He believes having a space is important for students for several resons.
“The reopening of Kohkom Bea’s carries significant meaning for students,” said Francis.
“It represents not just the revival of a dining space but also the restoration of a community hub where students can gather, share meals, and foster connections.”
He said it’s not just about the convenience of having accessible food options, it’s a place for cultural exchange.
“Kohkom Bea’s offers dishes that are unique to our Indigenous cuisines, thereby promoting cultural awareness and appreciation,” said Francis.
For Lance Bellegarde, a second-year Indigenous Social Work student, it’s about affordability.
“As struggling university students with tight budgets, the reopening of Kokum’s Bea’s Cafe represents a lifeline for many of us, myself included,” he said. “No longer must we endure the burden of wasting our hard-earned money on fuel to travel to distant dining options or sacrificing valuable study time to prepare our own meals.”
Bellegarde is looking forward to enjoying affordable, home-cooked meals on campus.
“It’s a place where we can relax, recharge and refuel both our bodies and spirits without breaking the bank,” he said.
The opening of the cafe is something the staff is equally excited about.
Sheena McCallum, FNUniv’s retention specialist at student success services, Regina campus, is happy to have good quality food available for campus events.
“I’m regularly ordering catering or seeking food options for students,” she said. “Kohkom Bea’s is a great way to support our FNUniv community by ordering in house healthy meal options for our students,” she said.
Cole Cappo is a member of Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation. He is studying Indigenous Communication Arts at First Nations University of Canada.