Kentsyóhkwa sewatahonsí:yohst kén’ nikarihwéhsha
Ne kati tentshitewanonhwera:ton ne Shonkwaya’tishon ne wahi rohsa’anyon tsi
naho:ten teyo’tawenrye ne kentho tsi ohwentsya:te.
Everyone here listen well for a short time
I will give thanks to the creator for all of the things
that go about on the earth
– Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen
Belleville, ON, Sept. 30, 2022 –Loyalist College’s Truth and Reconciliation Week events began on Sept. 26 in the A’nó:wara Learning Circle, with a Haudenosaunee opening ceremony, the Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen, delivered by Tewathahá:kwa Jennifer Maracle, Director, Indigenous Services. The ceremony asked College staff and students to set their intentions for the week ahead and to embrace their emotional responses as they learn about the painful shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
“This week, we provided a safe space on campus to acknowledge gaps in our cultural knowledge as an institution and created opportunities for non-Indigenous staff and students to begin addressing those gaps,” said Jennifer Maracle. “It was important to invite members from different nations to visit campus to teach and share their perspectives, offering staff and students a more well-rounded understanding of our collective history in this region.”
Dancing, drumming and culture-sharing activities facilitated exchange and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members at the College. On Sept. 27, Cheryle Maracle joined students, faculty and staff in the Indigenous Resource Centre to share the creation story of the Haudenosaunee nation through a painting class. The Loyalist College community also participated in a blanket exercise on Sept. 28, which uses Indigenous methodologies to tell the stories of pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. On Sept. 29, College students and employees learned to craft a traditional drum rattle while absorbing Anishinaabe teachings from Rod Nettagog. Guy Mandeville, a Métis veteran was also on campus to share his culture and display traditional Métis artifacts. In addition, the College’s Culinary team featured Indigenous-inspired soup in the Loyalist Market and donated all soup sales to alumnus Dakota Kataquapit, Indigenous Food Sovereignty Chef/Instructor at the Native Learning Centre in Toronto. A total of $2,000 was raised, and funds will be used by Chef Dakota to purchase supplies and access Indigenous food sources for students at the Native Learning Centre.
“This week meant a lot to me,” said Chavis Maracle, a student in Loyalist’s Culinary Management program. “I’ve been able to help my community here at Loyalist and show everyone my traditional regalia and how the ceremonies work. I look forward to showing the Loyalist community more of our traditions so more people will understand what we live with every day and what our ancestors had to sacrifice to get us where we are today.”
Installations on campus represented the number of unmarked graves found at former residential school sites across Canada. On Sept. 30, the College community observed a moment of silence to mourn the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential School System. At the closing ceremonies, participants set intentions for the year ahead, committing to bringing the understanding they had gained into their classrooms and daily lives moving forward.
“As a post-secondary institution, and as a community of educators, we recognize our unique responsibility to foster a culture where Indigenous students can find a sense of belonging and feel at home in the educational environment,” says Acting President of Loyalist College Mark Kirkpatrick. “The immersive cultural experiences on campus this week have been both moving and inspiring, but we know we must continue to educate ourselves and reflect deeper – both as a community and as individuals – on our role in the processes of decolonization and reconciliation.”
Loyalist College will continue to amplify Indigenous perspectives throughout the year as it pursues a leadership role in advancing the 94 Calls to Action from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To learn more about social and cultural events led by the Indigenous Services team at Loyalist College, including the upcoming Festival of Native Arts, visit loyalistcollege.com.
About Loyalist College
Loyalist College is located on the territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, and the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge our shared obligation to respect, honour, and sustain these lands and the natural resources contained within. Ranked one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges, Loyalist College empowers students, faculty, staff, and partners through experiential, industry cluster-based education, training and applied research programs. As Ontario’s Destination College, the College provides job-ready graduates for, and knowledge transfer to, industry and the community. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, the College is perfectly positioned between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loyalist College offers more than 70 full-time diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs in biosciences, building sciences, business, community service, health and wellness, media studies, public safety, and skilled trades. Continuing education options are available through LoyalistFocus.com, including hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, and through the College’s 100+ university transfer agreements. Loyalist College is a key driver of social and economic health in eastern Ontario. It contributes 3.8 percent of the Gross Regional Product, representing $396.3 million annually to the regional economy – based on an October 2021 report by Emsi. For more information on Loyalist College’s Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto campuses and Port Hope satellite location, visit loyalistcollege.com.
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