TIMMINS, ON: This morning, Northern College welcomed students, staff and members of the community to celebrate the grand opening of the new permanent 700-square foot Tipi at the Porcupine Campus. The Tipi will play host to community, cultural and educational activities while providing a warm, inviting environment for gathering, sharing, healing and learning. The tipi will be accessible to Northern College learners, partners, clients, and all those with an interest in learning more about the cultural values and traditions of Aboriginal peoples.
The construction of the Tipi was officially marked on June 8, 2012 with a sunrise ceremony facilitated by Grandmother and Elder Roberta Oshkawbewisens and Grandfather and Elder David Faries to bless the ground, acknowledge the original inhabitants of the land and ask for their blessing for the continued success of the activities conducted upon it. In late March, a sunrise pipe ceremony was held to cleanse the Tipi before its grand opening. Smudging, traditional teachings and a sharing circle followed.
Designed in the likeness of a traditional tipi, the permanent structure is located on the south side of the campus facing Porcupine Lake. The structure is temperature controlled, ventilated, and connected to the college to enable year-round use. This new venue will provide an inclusive environment to meet the needs of cultural, community, and educational activities such as smudging, Aboriginal teachings, traditional ceremonies, as well as classes, seminars and meetings with Aboriginal content. It will be used by faculty, aligning with traditional methods of learning such as storytelling and learning circles. 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.
“The Tipi is a source of ceremony, relationship building, cross-cultural understanding and a place of sharing and reflection. Northern College is dedicated to creating and sustaining a respectful, inclusive, accessible, and culturally sensitive learning environment,” said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “Celebrating our varied cultural heritage is such a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved, whether someone is sharing their heritage or experiencing something new.”
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 on strong 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 our 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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