National Indigenous Peoples Day to be celebrated with week of activities

Brock University will honour the heritage, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples with a packed week of educational activities later this month.

Along with marking National Indigenous Peoples Day on Tuesday, June 21, when Brock’s Schmon Tower will be lit in orange, the Brock community is invited to participate in a variety of virtual and in-person workshops from Monday, June 20 to Friday, June 24 for Indigenous Peoples Awareness Week at the University.

The first three days of the week will focus on First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture, respectively, with workshops highlighting traditional teachings and art. The last two days will showcase community partnerships and the importance of gathering together.

Cindy Biancaniello, Director of Aboriginal Student Services (AbSS), said she was thrilled to be able to offer in-person workshops to celebrate the week.

“Aboriginal Student Services has invited several of our self-identified Indigenous students to participate by leading workshops that reflect their culture,” she said. “It’s been a long time since we have gathered for hands-on activities, and this is thrilling because this is where the learning happens. While we sit around a table and craft, we engage in conversations around Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing.”

Biancaniello said she and the AbSS team are excited to welcome faculty, staff, students and community members to join in the various events.

“This is an opportunity to strengthen the relationships we have as well as develop new relationships with those around us and share in the diverse cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit,” she said.

Among this year’s partners are members of Brock’s Ukrainian Support Group, who will co-host the Connecting Cultures: Ukrainian and Indigenous Beading event on Wednesday, June 22 from noon to 1 p.m. along with Student Life and Success. The event will highlight the similar beading traditions of many Indigenous and Ukrainian people, along with their collective celebration of the summer solstice. In addition to the beading session, AbSS is also inviting members of Niagara’s Ukrainian community to receive an offering of sweetgrass, which symbolizes healing, peace and harmony. The offering will take place at 10 a.m. at the Alphie’s Trough fire pit and will be given by an Elder along with Sam Charal, Brock’s Aboriginal Recruitment/Liaison Officer.

As he prepares to host ceremonial fires throughout the week, Charal said National Indigenous Peoples Day and the week of activities is a reminder of the history and sacrifices of all Indigenous communities.

“We remember those who came before us to ensure our children will be raised in our way of life, in balance with the earth and free from the fear that attempted to submit our peace of mind, human rights and cultural integrity through silence and hegemony,” he said. “This day also reminds us of the love that has kept our communities, families and relationships braided strong; the loyalty and dedication to our way of life that has kept our minds and hearts humble; and the path we choose to take as students, teachers, leaders, healers, protectors and providers in kinship with our future generations, the Earth and all of our relations.”

To learn more about the events taking place for Indigenous Peoples Awareness Week, visit the AbSS ExperienceBU page.

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