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UNB student creates clothing line to celebrate Saint John’s Indigenous roots

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Sep 14, 2022

Category: UNB Saint John

Hayden Hovey is bringing Indigenous visibility to the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus through a clothing line he designed called Menahqesk. 

"Menahqesk is the traditional land name for Saint John,” said Hovey. “It translates from the Wolastoqiyik to mean ‘the place of the sea taking the land’ and it was considered a place of gathering.”

Hovey is entering his fourth year of sociology with a concentration in criminal justice and is the first Indigenous representative on the UNB Saint John Students’ Representative Council. He hopes the Menahqesk clothing line will pique curiosity to start a conversation and help educate the UNB community on Indigenous land history.

“There is a misconception that reconciliation is the responsibility of Indigenous Peoples, but the truth is it falls to everyone,” said Hovey. “It’s about an ongoing relationship between equal nations which can be supported through conversation.”

He worked with UNB Saint John’s Indigenous advisor, Todd Ross, to create a way to connect the UNB community and celebrate the region’s Wolastoqey roots and Maliseet, Mi'kmaw and Peskotomuhkati Peoples.

“Part of my role is to support Indigenous students on the Saint John campus,” said Ross. “I was fortunate to supervise Hayden’s Indigenous clothing line project through the Social Science in Practicum course.” 

Social Science in Practicum is a course offered at UNB’s Saint John campus. It pairs students with a mentor or an organization that best fits their goals and related disciplines to provide experiential learning opportunities. By combining hands-on problem-solving and research with their academic studies, the students find solutions to real-world problems while working within their community.

“By wearing a hoodie or t-shirt that says Menahqesk, we are showing Indigenous students that they are represented on our campus and also giving non-Indigenous students the opportunity to learn,” says Hovey. 

UNB Menahqesk unisex hoodies and t-shirts are available at the UNB Saint John campus bookstore or online at unb.ca/sjcampusstore. A portion of the sale profit goes toward funding UNB’s Indigenous student groups on the Saint John campus. 

Media contact: Kathleen McLaughlin