Aboriginal Awareness Week Aims to Build Understanding

October 09, 2008 - News Release

Food tasting, a powwow-style dance performance and an art gallery tour are some of the activities planned to celebrate Aboriginal Awareness Week at the University of Guelph Oct. 14 to 16.

Organized by the Aboriginal Resource Centre (ARC) and the Aboriginal Student Association, the three-day event is aimed at acknowledging the Aboriginal presence and partnerships on campus.

"Events like this help create awareness and improve accessibility for aboriginal students coming to campus," said Cara Wehkamp, acting aboriginal student adviser with the ARC. "Providing the people on campus with opportunities that will help us have a better understanding of aboriginal communities is also important because of the ongoing research projects and partnerships U of G has with these communities."

The week kicks off Oct. 14 with an aboriginal food tasting and dance exhibition from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the University Centre courtyard. You can try Pemmican soup, venison, salmon, Indian tacos, blueberry bannock, wild rice, and sage and cedar teas while watching the Gadaihongwas dancers perform.

On Oct. 15, a workshop on "The Guidelines of Ethical Aboriginal Research" runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon in UC 103. Lenore Manitowabi from Noojmowin Teg Health Centre will discuss the importance of community process and establishing a sustainable plan as well as provide information on how to incorporate community-based traditional aboriginal values and ethics into research.

A second workshop on "Aboriginal Research Ethics: Researching Social Science and Arts in Aboriginal Communities" will follow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the same room. Kim Anderson, a U of G adjunct professor in women's studies, will talk about different strategies for developing meaningful and productive relationships with aboriginal community members and researchers.

Robert Animikii Horton, who was named one of the 12 national aboriginal role models for 2008 and 2009 by the National Aboriginal Health Organization, will give a talk Oct. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the ARC on Gordon Street.

Horton is Anishinaabe from Rainy River First Nations in Ontario. He has spent more than 10 years as a progressive social and political activist for indigenous rights and education and is also a spoken-word poet.

Following the talk, a tour of the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. It will include a discussion of the gallery's aboriginal pieces.

The three-day event wraps up with a workshop on the "Realities of Urban Aboriginal Queer/Two-Spirit Youth" from 7 to 9 p.m. in UC 004. Craig Ross, who is M├ętis and is studying urban aboriginal queers at York University, will discuss colonization and sexual regulation, public policy and the influences of geography and religion, and the limits of two-spirit youths organizing with urban queers.

Faculty and staff can register for the workshops through Human Resources.
Others interested in attending should contact Wehkamp at 519-824-4120, Ext. 58687, or cwehkamp@uoguelph.ca.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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