The Guno family has left a large imprint on the Nisga'a Nation and the province of British Columbia.
Larry Guno was the second Indigenous man ever elected to the B.C. legislature.
His deceased nephew Preston played a major role in advancing the interests of Indigenous children and youths. This came while working at the Broadway Resource Centre, in the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, and as the founder of Walk Tall Warrior Camps. His uncle, Jerry Adams, was the first Indigenous member of the Vancouver police board.
And now, another Guno, Preston's sister Marcia, is Emily Carr University of Art + Design's new vice-provost students.
Her Nisga'a name is K’amyuuwa’a and she's a member of the Laxsgiik (Eagle) pdeek.
The Laxsgiik are considered visionaries in Nisga'a culture.
“As I prepare myself for the amazing new journey ahead of me at Emily Carr, I carry with me my cultural values and teachings,” Guno said in a statement released today by the university. “I am grateful for our traditional medicines and for opportunities to get out onto the land. For me, the land is a beautiful canvas, rich with art, history, language and traditional teachings for us all."
She begins on January 6 after spending the past six years as director of the Indigenous Student Centre at SFU.
“I think of all the people who have come before me, to help strive for more inclusion and representation of Indigenous people and people of colour at all levels of educational institutions," she added. "I look forward to joining the Emily Carr community. I look forward to being in a smaller campus community, surrounded by creativity, innovation and diversity that is rich with cultural teachings.”
Her parents, Raymond and Sylvia, were both residential school survivors. Back in 2018, Guno told the Straight that they instilled in all of their children a love of education.
“When I finished my master’s thesis in 2001, the word ‘reconciliation’ wasn’t even on our radar, here in Canada,” she said in the Emily Carr University of Art + Design statement. “Reconciliation is not an easy journey. It’s hard work talking about racism, talking about how to improve equity and diversity and inclusion in a meaningful way.
"It involves walking through different parts of colonial history that are painful to learn about, or to remember. It’s also taking a moment to reflect upon how we work together to create safe spaces to learn from this painful history, and how we strive to have respectful conversations about ways we can work together to do better.”
She worked for the Assembly of First Nations in B.C. for three years when Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould was the regional chief. Then Guno served from 2012 to 2015 as an elected member of the Nisga'a Lisims Government, working to extend the Nisga'a language to 1,400 members who live in Metro Vancouver.