Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 17, 2005

Aboriginal Awareness Week Aims to Share Traditions, Build Understanding

A week of activities and events, including workshops, food, a craft and book sale and a four-part staff and faculty seminar series, has been planned to celebrate Aboriginal Awareness Week at the University of Guelph Oct. 24 to 27. All performances, seminars and workshops are free of charge and will be held in Room 103 of the University Centre. Registration is required for seminars and workshops.

Spearheaded by the Aboriginal Resource Centre and supported by a number of campus departments and organizations, including the Human Resources department , the Office of Research and OPIRG, this week will explore the spirit of "sharing traditions and building understandings", said Jaime Mishibinijima, organizer and U of G aboriginal student adviser.

“These events are possible only because of the many campus collaborators,” said Mishibinijima. “We hope to dispel myths and stereotypes while providing a safe place to ask questions and begin to understand different issues.”

On Oct. 24, people are invited to sample some traditional aboriginal foods from across Canada, including blackberry dumplings, corn soup, mesquite rabbit and Alaskan salmon, for $5 a plate in the University Centre courtyard from noon to 1:30 p.m. The White Pine Dancers (Gonrah Desgohwah) will perform native traditional dance and drumming.

On Oct. 25, a seminar titled “Aboriginal 101: All the Things You Wanted to Know, but Never Wanted to Ask” runs from 10 a.m. to noon.

“Aboriginal people in Canada represent 4.4 per cent of the overall population and are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country,” said Mishibinijima. “Understanding aboriginal issues is an important part of becominga leader in multi-culturalism.” Facilitated by Sparrow Rose and Jeannie Becker, the event is geared to student service staff and anyone with an interest in aboriginal people and issues.

In addition, an aboriginal book and craft sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Courtyard, and a seminar on two-spirited people is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m.

On Oct. 26, Mishibinijima and Janie Willie from the Human Rights and Equity office will lead a staff workshop titled “Aboriginal Students: What You Need to Know to Serve Them Better” from 10 a.m. to noon. It aims to provide understanding of cross-cultural differences and communication styles to enhance the capacity of staff and faculty to meet the needs of aboriginal students.

Oct. 27 will feature a performance of “Westwind and the Woodland Sisters,” at 7 p.m.

Oct. 27 also marks the launch of a four-part seminar series called “Aboriginal Research Ethics.” Designed to broaden how research is conducted in aboriginal communities and appropriate research methods that improve the existence of aboriginal people, the series begins with “New Trends in Aboriginal Research,” at 10 a.m. Facilitator is Marlene Brant Castellano, an Officer of the Order of Canada who was inducted into the Order of Ontario in 1995 and received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her contribution to education in 1996.

The series continues with “Aboriginal Research and Relationships: Changing the Way We View Knowledge and Ownership” with Ricardo Ramirez and Andres Ibanez Nov. 1; “Researching Science in Aboriginal Communities,” with Prof. Steve Crawford and Clayton Coppaway” Nov. 3 and “Researching Social Science and Arts in Aboriginal Communities,” with Kim Anderson Nov. 8.

Participants can register online or by calling Karen Kovats at (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56495.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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