CALGARY, AB – Bow Valley College’s Iniikokaan (Buffalo Lodge) Centre is hosting Indigenous Awareness this month to recognize and share the impact of Indigenous culture in Canada.
“This is our second year hosting the Indigenous Showcase on campus, and we want to promote engagement with all students and employees,” states Gerald Ratt, Indigenous Learner Liaison Officer, Learner Success Services. “We will have some Indigenous students who will be speaking and sharing their perspectives on the theme.”
The month’s events include a community fair, art display, traditional foods, film presentations, origin stories, a language pronunciation session, and teachings led by Cultural Resource Elders. The showcase will also feature Powwow and Metis dance performances.
Noella Wells, Iniikokaan Centre Director, says the event has grown in scope and interest since last year—a clear indicator that people want to expand their knowledge and awareness.
“This is a great collaboration with many departments at Bow Valley College,” Wells states. “All learners and staff should attend and celebrate for their own reconciliation efforts—to witness, understand, and learn the Indigenous cultures, languages, and people from this area.”
The United Nations’ has designated 2019 as the year of Indigenous Languages. This recognition is also in agreement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action in order to make language a priority.
The College has taken a proactive step in developing an Indigenization strategy, which includes recruiting and retaining more Indigenous learners and employees, raising awareness, understanding, and creating mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous peoples, communities, and post-secondary institutions.
James Kuptana, Indigenization Strategy Specialist, Learner Services and Finance, sees the forward-thinking strategy as two-fold, a primary architect of the project, and sees the forward-thinking strategy as two-fold.
“The first aspect is to make the college more inclusive of Indigenous peoples, ways of knowing, understanding and learning. The other is to initiate a systems and transformational change. The college has been on a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples for over a decade.”
Working in partnership with Indigenous communities (the Kainai, the Piikani, the Siksika, the Tsuut’ina, the Stoney Nakoda and the Metis Nation of Alberta Region #3), Bow Valley College is proudly committed to integrate Indigenous practices, develop focused educational programs, boost community involvement and build respectful relationships at all our campus locations across Alberta.
For more information about Indigenous Awareness Month activities, visit bowvalleycollege.ca.