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Shatitsirótha’, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre (WISC) of St. Paul’s has opened a ceremonial fire ground and medicine garden on campus. This space facilitates community-building throughout the university and surrounding area and provides a place for peaceful reflection. This space supports cultural and educational programming and is overseen by WISC.

rocks with wood and ribbons in firegrounds

Photo Credit: Gerard Peter Paw

The design, by Brian Roth, Architects, was developed in close consultation with Fire Keeper Al MacDonald of Kitchener and the WISC staff. The space is shaped as a medicine wheel with a turtle in the centre for the ceremonial fire to sit upon. It is used for ceremonies, educational opportunities, and other gatherings.

In many Indigenous cultures, fire honours the spirit of the ancestors. The medicine garden contains herbs and other plants – such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass, tobacco, and strawberries – traditionally used for ceremonies, medicinal, and blessing purposes.

The ceremonial fire ground and medicine garden space is considered a sacred space and as such requires following specific protocols when interacting within the space. The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre staff are the caretakers of this sacred space and the protocols.

For more information or if you are interested in bringing your class, colleagues, or group to our sacred space for an educational opportunity with WISC please contact wisc@uwaterloo.ca .

This space SHOULD NOT be used in a formal or group setting without the engagement of WISC staff or designated caretaker by WISC staff. Individual use for peaceful reflection is encouraged

cermonial fire grounds done

Photo Credit: Gerard Peter Paw