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Indigenous programming

  • Sweat lodge ceremony
    • When: Friday, May 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    • Target audience: All faculty and staff

    Note: If the weather includes a lightning/rain storm and/or high winds, the sweat will be postponed. If we only experience light showers, we will proceed. Alternative date: Friday, May 31.

    A sweat lodge ceremony is a custom Indigenous people have practised for thousands of years. It is a cleansing and healing ceremony. Every aspect of the ceremony, from the preparation of the lodge itself to the prayers offered, is inspired with deeply spiritual symbolism. The shape of the lodge is intended to represent the womb of Mother Earth, which renews and purifies those within it.

    This is an experience you will never forget. Non-Indigenous people are welcome to take this opportunity to experience the ceremony's many physical and spiritual benefits.

    During the ceremony, participants are asked to respect the following important customs:

    • In Indigenous culture, it is believed that a woman on her moon time (menstruating) is experiencing her own special ceremony and is thought to be at her most powerful. The power of a woman experiencing her moon time may interfere with the sweat lodge ceremony. As a result, women experiencing their moon time are not to enter the lodge. Women can still fully participate in this fascinating ceremony by sitting outside of the lodge.
    • As life-givers, women have a stronger connection to Mother Earth. Women entering the lodge are expected to wear a long skirt as a symbolic way to show this connection.
    • All body piercings that cannot be removed should be wrapped in red cloth.
    • All participants are asked to wear modest, comfortable, breathable clothing.
    • Participants should avoid eating a heavy or spicy meal before entering the lodge.

    Participants are encouraged to bring a water container, small hand towel to take into the lodge, and a large towel to dry off with after the sweat.

    Sweat lodge ceremony leader:

    Rick Bourque (Traditional Knowledge Keeper)


  • Medicine walk and storytelling
    • When: Wednesday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to noon (rain date: Thursday, June 20)
    • Target audience: All faculty and staff

    Explore Indigenous culture as it relates to spirituality and nature. Rick Bourque, Traditional Knowledge Keeper, will lead a walk along the Oshawa Creek and share the history of the Indigenous peoples and their connections to the land in this area. Learn about the medicine that grew along the banks of the Oshawa Creek and their uses.


    Rick Bourque (Traditional Knowledge Keeper)


  • From Contact 'til Now

    *Thank you for your interest. Contact 'Til Now has concluded for Winter 2018-2019. Check back in September 2019 for registration information.*

    Back by popular demand, From Contact 'Til Now is an interactive session that will provide participants with an experiential learning opportunity designed to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the history of colonization and how it has affected and continued to affect Indigenous peoples today.

    This presentation will include a smudging ceremony. A debrief about the exercise will follow to explain its importance and relevancy.

    After attending, participants will be able to: 

    • Explain how colonization contributed to the conditions that led to three Indigenous stereotypes.
    • Compare various roles in Indigenous communities prior to and after contact.
    • Describe how the experiences of residential school survivors led to multi-generational trauma in Indigenous communities.
    • Articulate one way they can contribute to reconciliation in their role at the university.

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