TIMMINS, ON: At 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, a ceremony will be held at Northern College Timmins Campus to determine the official name for the college’s permanent tipi. A traditional sharing circle will form to discuss potential names submitted by the college community, before deciding which name will be chosen to permanently represent the tipi.
The tipi provides an inclusive environment to meet the needs of cultural, community, and educational activities including Aboriginal teachings, traditional ceremonies, and smudging. A place for quiet reflection and a symbol of respect and acceptance, the tipi provides access to the spiritual and cultural wisdom of Elders and promotes cross-cultural awareness among staff, faculty, community and the student body.
First opened in April, 2013, the permanent tipi has quickly become an integral component of the Timmins Campus. The tipi provides an inclusive environment which is used for cultural, community and educational activities, including Aboriginal teachings, traditional ceremonies and smudging. The tipi is used extensively by students, faculty, staff and members of the community. The tipi helps those who enter it connect with the spiritual and cultural wisdom of Elders.
The unique permanent structure, designed in the likeness of a traditional tipi, faces Porcupine Lake. The structure is temperature controlled, ventilated, and connected to the college to enable year-round use.
“The permanent tipi is an essential resource for the promotion of cross-cultural awareness at the college,” said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “Many traditional teachings and ceremonies require an authentic, culturally relevant space. The permanent tipi allows our students, faculty, staff and the broader community to engage in these activities year-round, in a way that is true to, and respectful of, the traditions of our local Aboriginal peoples.”
Facilitating the ceremony will be Grandfather and Elder David Faries. The ceremony will begin with smudging, followed by the forming of a sharing circle. The circle will discuss potential names for the tipi submitted by the community, with the goal of coming to a consensus on which name will be chosen.
“Traditionally, when a child was born, the Elders in the community would be called upon to give a name to the newborn. They would gather around the child and by way of their observation, would come up with a name,” said Faries. “Although the tipi is not a child, it is a place to help us gather and meet with the spirits, therefore I feel quite comfortable in coming together in the tipi to agree on what it shall be called.”
The ceremony will be open to the public. Attendees will receive a ballot to enter a draw for a $100 pre-paid Visa gift card. Bannock and tea will be provided.
Those interested in submitting a name for the tipi to be considered by the sharing circle should contact Joseph Nakogee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 705.235.3211 ext.2233.
The tipi is a visible embodiment of one of Northern College’s strategic directions, Aboriginal Perspectives. Northern College is committed to holding meaningful dialogue and developing partnerships with Aboriginal leaders, learners, communities and employers, and building upon relationships that have already been established.
Northern College’s 2013-2016 Strategic Plan guides the college’s goals and action plans, allowing the college to effectively carry out its mission to ensure quality, accessible education through innovative programs, services, and partnerships for the benefit of our northern communities. Current and previous strategic plans and other college documents are available at www.northernc.on.ca/documents
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705.235.3211 ext. 2253