Aboriginal Initiatives – Cultural & Support at Lakehead University 2018

By Amanda Perreault

THUNDER BAY – The beginning of classes at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year started with a kick off featuring a very knowledgeable speaker, Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair at this year’s Maadaadazi 2018 – student orientation for the Aboriginal Initiative – Cultural & Support-Lakehead University at Marina Park.

A three-time award-winning co-editor of Connections Centring Anishinabeg Studies, Understanding The World through stories, Manitowapow, Aboriginal writings from the Land and Water, The Winter We Danced, Voices of the Past, the Future & The Idle No More Movement are just some of the accomplishments of Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair.  He is also a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press. ‘

His sincere love for his family connection with his daughter and stories growing up and now with the effects of residential school will be an ongoing awareness but it will never defeat them.

Indigenous peoples have been hurt for generations by layered historic social and cultural trauma that in healing, we need to want to listen.

Knowing about our people’s history and culture gives strength and pride and a sense of belonging it gives more grounding in life.  A connection we recognize and honour for our ancestor’s cultural activity in language, art, law and dance.  It allows a way of sharing survival skills and a connection to the medicines of the land and water and sky.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the apology to the Residential school horrific experiences on June 11, 2008, the grassroots acknowledged culture, people, Land, health and law cannot be separated.  It cannot be separated because it is how we work together and respect our Country on which we live that will enable us to continue to live for generations that give more grounding in life, and the ability to be able to provide and obtain food and other necessities for support for Ecosystems with the Earth.

Sara Sabourin makes amazing bannock.
Sara Sabourin makes amazing bannock.

The Tenth Annual Fall Harvest attributed through the Aboriginal Cultural and Support program at Lakehead University took place at the ceremonial site at LU, sharing knowledge to all who attended open to the public.

Teachings on sweat lodge ceremonies, herbal teas made of rosehip, labrador leaves, cedar, birchbark teachings, fish, frybread, storytelling brought the community together filled with pride for our culture, wisdom filled with knowledge and humbleness because not a lot of our own people know, but many asked questions, especially the young generation.

Sara Sabourin making bannock over the open fire at Lakehead University
Sara Sabourin making bannock over the open fire at Lakehead University

I can’t wait till next year when young people and students can get out and volunteer to assist our elders of the community making yet another year successful as they accomplished this year.  A job well done bringing unity and light to our beautiful indigenous tradition of culture.

Chi meegwech for allowing me to bring my clan of Lynx Cubs with me this year.