Northern College Breaks Ground on Sacred Garden at Timmins Campus
TIMMINS, ON: Northern College is pleased to announce that it has broken ground on a new project that will see the creation of a Sacred Garden on the grounds of its Timmins Campus.
The garden, which will be located behind the Campus’ permanent Teepee, will reflect the four quadrants of the medicine wheel, and will serve as a traditional classroom of sorts, a place to learn about the over 200 teachings of the medicine wheel.
“This is an incredible step for us as a College,” stated Trudy Wilson, Northern College’s Manager of Indigenous Services. “One of many on our journey to truly Indigenize Northern College. Each quadrant of the garden will be home to our traditional medicines: tobacco, sage, sweetgrass and cedar which we hope to have planted by next June.”
The Sacred Garden comes as part of Northern College’s Strategic Plan, which outlines key goals for the institution over the coming years. The plan places special focus on Indigenous inclusion and acknowledgement, formally recognizing the significant role that Indigenous students and their communities play in the fabric of the north and of Northern College.
“This is an incredibly important moment for us on our journey to better serve our Indigenous neighbours,” stated Dr. Audrey J. Penner. “Our indigenous students play such a crucial role in our College and frankly, you cannot be a resident of Ontario’s north without being impacted by their culture, their teachings and their unique perspective on life. This is our small way of working towards creating a space of acknowledgement, safety and familiarity for our students, a chance to share in cultural teachings, to come together and to grow and to learn.”
As part of the ground breaking ceremony, Northern College invited Elder Morris Naveau of Mattagami First Nation to lead a prayer and offer insight and perspective into what this project means for both Northern College and the Indigenous Communities that play such a crucial role in the region.
“This will be a place for teaching and for sharing,” said Elder Naveau as he blessed the gathering of community members and College staff. “This is a place to share and to know the things that have been passed on to us by the creator, a place to share these lessons with non-Indigenous people so that can understand where we came from and how we were taught.”
Elder Naveau has spent the better part of his life passing on these teachings, saying he was encouraged to see Northern College take further steps towards Indigenous inclusion.
Work will begin on the construction of the Sacred Garden this coming spring.
Kyle Gennings (he/him)
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