Indigenous ambassadors Mike and Kenny Wade at the Ishkodewan courtyard. Photo credit: Vanessa Bobai

On Thursday, Oct.1, Algonquin College held an honouring ceremony and feast at the Ishkodewan courtyard and Nawapon in honour of the Students’ Association’s contribution to supporting the college’s commitment to fulfilling the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The event was hosted by André O’Bonsawin, Manager Indigenous Initiatives, who started the ceremony by offering a prayer to the creator.

Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College, gave a speech in which he thanked the Students’ Association’s past directors and current directors for supporting the college. He applauded them for donating one million dollars over five years towards the inclusion of indigenous architecture, art and design around the college.

This contribution is particularly evident in The DARE district.

President of the Students’ Association, Deijanelle Simon also gave a speech in which she thanked the students for allowing her to be their voice and represent them. She expressed that indigenization and inclusiveness of the campus is a top priority of the board.

“I am proud to see the work being done in Algonquin to indigenize our spaces,” said Simon.

To round up the formal presentations, Mike Wade, an Indigenous cultural ambassador in the Ottawa Region, presented the student association belt to Deijanelle Simon. The belt was created by a group of Indigenous students from across Canada. It signifies that students learn from their past, where they are in the present, and where they are going to go in the future.

There was a cultural stick dance performed by Mike Wade and Kenny Wade. The dance originates from the Delaware Nation. Members of the community were encouraged to join in the dance.

“I joined the performance because it helped me feel connected to my Indigenous roots,” said Tamara O’Connor, health promotion educator.