Aboriginal awareness brought to Lakeland College

By Kassidy Christensen

March 14, 2017 12:00 AM

To provide awareness on the aboriginal presence at Lakeland College, Aboriginal Awareness Week is being held March 13 to 17.
The week will be host to a few events put on by the Aboriginal Student Advisory Committee (ASAC) that showcases the culture of aboriginal people.
“The aboriginal demographic here at Lakeland wants to feel comfortable,” said Clint Chocan, indigenous support specialist at Lakeland College and advisor to ASAC.
By putting on these events it provides comfort and a sense of security to the students, “They start feeling the acceptance,” he said.
The ASAC is made up of aboriginal students who provide mentorship and support to new aboriginal students coming to Lakeland and make sure that the students feel comfortable and provide some type of support so they can be successful.
Chocan explained some students feel comfortable coming to college and take off.
Others may struggle with new norms they experience off reserves since the norms on reserves are quite different.
“There’s two different cultures, there’s a clash and there’s almost a cultural shock of sorts,” Chocan said.
The events kicked off Monday with a sacred ceremonial feast that is not open to the public.
“It is a sacred practice, it’s a sacred feast, it involves having to make connection with the grandfathers and grandmothers that have gone before us, as well as the creator,” Chocan said.
On Wednesday a Round Dance open to the public will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the Servus Credit Union Hospitality Centre at Lakeland College.
Chocan explained a round dance may be held to honour a certain event or people, for example a memorial or birthday, among others.
“The round dance (at Lakeland) is meant just to celebrate the unity that is being shown at the college,” he said.
“We’re hoping that people attending the event realize that there is a way of connecting all nations.”
The final event of the week, a bannock making contest, will be held Thursday at the same location as the round dance from noon to 1 p.m.
Chocan said the ASAC wanted to expose non-aboriginal students and faculty to the types of events that happen on reserves.
A ceremonial event happened Monday, which Chocan said is sacred, “and then that Wednesday is more of a celebration and then the Thursday it is more of a get together of sorts,” he said.

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