Celebrating Indigenous Peoples
“[Indigenous Awareness Month] is related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action that we become educated about our Indigenous peoples, know their histories, their cultures, and their languages,” says Noella Wells, Iniikokaan Centre Director at Bow Valley College.
The Iniikokaan Centre first recognized Indigenous Awareness Month in June 2014, to align with National Indigenous (Aboriginal) Day, which takes place annually on June 21st. However, this year, the College Awareness Month was moved to March because there are more students on campus during the Winter term than Spring and Summer.
Noella organized the event with a committee of employees from across Bow Valley College and her Iniikokaan Centre team, Gerald Ratt and Carla Big Tobacco. The group is most looking forward to the Indigenous Showcase, a celebration of dance, languages, food, cultures, and people, on March 18. Many of the institution’s departments collaborated to plan the showcase, the second of its kind at the College. The theme for this year’s showcase is “We are all Niitsitapi,” which translates to the original and real people by the Blackfoot Confederacy.
Noella notes that Indigenous Awareness Month is for the entire College community: students, employees, executive members, Cultural Resource Elders, and special guests. Indigenous students will speak at the Indigenous Showcase, while others will take part in other ways, including volunteering at events throughout the month. On Wednesday, March 27, all seven of our Cultural Resource Elders will participate in a panel called Good Medicine.
“All students should attend and celebrate [Indigenous Awareness Month] for their own reconciliation efforts, to witness, to understand and to learn the Indigenous peoples’ cultures and languages from this area, called Treaty #7 and the Métis Region #3,” says Noella.
For details on all of the month’s events, visit our Indigenous Awareness Month page.
Posted on March 6, 2019
Story by Julie-Anne, photos by Chris Bolin