Indigenous Peoples Day: recognition, reflection, reconciliation
by Peter Stirling. This article was originally published on Waterloo Stories.
Walking to the 2019 Knowledge Integration (KI) Exhibition (KIX), I had a feeling it would be one of those days that I love my new job. I was charged with photographing the Mashkawizii exhibit viewing by Chief Ava Hill, of the 56th Elected Council of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and member of the Board of Governors at the University of Waterloo.
As Hill began her tour, I hovered about taking pictures, but quickly felt out of place as the gravity of the exhibit I was photographing impressed upon me. Putting away my camera, I excused myself. This was not a photo opportunity; it was an occasion for a local elder to connect with each exhibit as a story she already knew personally.
Mashkawizii: Paint it Orange; Resilience in the Face of Trauma, was designed as a shared learning space that aims to change the predominantly negative narrative surrounding Indigenous people, and to demonstrate the resilience displayed by these communities in the face of the intergenerational trauma caused by the Canadian residential school system.
For First Nations, the colour orange is used to mark the impact that these schools had on their communities. On September 30th, Canadians are encouraged to wear orange as a way to remember a time of year when children were often taken away for the first time to the schools.
After touring the display alone, Chief Hill walked through again with KI students, Ben Ang, Findley Dunn, Ted Haag, Claire Quong, and Stephanie Ye-Mowe, who had created the exhibit. Professor Rob Gorbet, director of Knowledge Integration, explained that the students had been reluctant to take on this project, as they were not themselves members of the Indigenous community they sought to represent. However, after meeting with Waterloo’s Indigenous Student Association, they were encouraged to pursue the exhibit, and they set themselves to the task, with the goal of creating a visual space where Indigenous people could tell their own story.
Chief Hill remarked on how well the students had captured the voices of her people’s past, specifically in relation to the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School in Brantford, Ontario, which local First Nations children attended.
Hill took time to explain how detrimental the residential school environment was for those who attended.
Building sustainable innovation brick by brick
This article was originally posted on the School of Environment, Enterprise and Business (SEED) website.
Two of the School of Environment, Enterprise and Business SUSM Master's students; Noor-ur-Rahman Shaikh (supervisor: Professor Steve Young) and Daniel Francisco Gonzalez (supervisor: Professor Goretty Dias) are the 2019 national winners of the Comission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Youth Innovation Challenge. Noor-ur-Rahman and Daniel will travel to Mexico City this month to present their project "IXIM - Using your waste to create change!" The project involved the creation of a 100 percent biodegradable and sustainable material alternative to bricks, allowing us to reinvision the "framework" of walls.
Each year the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) facilitates the Youth Innovation Challenge. This competition encourages students and young innovators to share their ideas that could make a sustainable difference. The winning group from the three competing countries: Mexico, the United States and Canada travel to Mexico City this month to present their project to a panel of ten environmental officials.
Learn more about the CEC Youth Innovation Challenge.
Waterloo will show its Pride in Toronto parade
The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the oldest running LGBTQA+ student organization in Canada, will be marching in the Toronto Pride parade on Sunday, June 23 and is inviting the University community to join them.
"“Glow Be Free" is our theme for this year’s pride!" says an article on the Federation of Students' website.
The purchase of a ticket includes a t-shirt that must be worn while marching in the Waterloo contingent.
Glow is organizing a bus that will take passengers to the parade. Registration opens in the Student Life Centre Great Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in SLC Great Hall and the bus will depart by 12:45 p.m.
Registration for those who are driving takes place at at 2:30 p.m. in Allan Gardens at the corner of Jarvis St. and Carlton St. in Toronto. More information is available on the Glow Facebook event page.
Photograph courtesy of the Federation of Students.
ION rolls out and other notes
Ride the rails: The ION light rail transit begins regular service today. The trains will run free of charge until July 1, with 19 stops between Conestoga Mall and Fairview Mall, including stops at the Research + Technology Park and at the University of Waterloo station right across from the Davis Centre. The train system has been under construction for five years, and there will be a grand opening celebration at 10:30 a.m. at the Fairview Mall terminus. The launch of the ION service also heralds sweeping changes to the region's bus transit service. Check out the Grand River Transit website for more details. Read more about the launch on Waterloo Stories.
Today is Indigenous Peoples Day, and the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre will be celebrating from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the St. Paul's University College green space. There will be traditional drumming, singing and dancing. Check out the Facebook event page for more information. WISC has more information about community events taking place in recognition of the day. You can also read a Waterloo Stories article about Indigenous writer Lee Maracle, who received an honorary degree at Waterloo's Spring 2019 Convocation.