Throat singing, dramatized story telling, dream catchers, dancing and singing to the drums and teaching young children to talk in their native language. A day set aside to learn a little of Canada’s history.
This is what the Aboriginal Awareness day held on Jan. 22 at the Durham College-UOIT gym was all about. Helping young minds learn of the culture of aboriginals and teaching them about the rituals, songs and blending them with the beliefs of their elders.
Young children from the public schools of Oshawa were introduced to the dancers, dressing style, jewelry, art and stories of the First Nations. The event was not only targeting children, but also all aboriginal students, parents and members of the community of Durham College. Durham president Don Lovisa says having an awareness day is needed to educate the staff and students of campus about the culture and heritage of the aboriginal community.
“We must understand our history as a country,” he says.
Mississauga First Nation Chief Kelly LaRocca attended the awareness day and she spoke about how important it is for young aboriginal students to be immersed with the culture of the First Nations. “An awareness day raises the profile of First Nations within the local college community,” she says.
A symbolic tree put up by the aboriginal students of Durham College, was decorated with colourful leaves that had words of wisdom and memories and thoughts of the people gathered for the awareness day. The student volunteers asked people to write about what they felt with regards to truth and reconciliation in the aboriginal community.
Interactive story tellers and dancers graced the event and showed the audience authentic dance moves, throat singing and told stories of animals and life lessons. Different stalls were set up to show the students and families the artwork and different practises of the First Nations.
Jewelry made with beads, animal fur and feathers were also sold at the event. The elders of the community graced the event and shared their beliefs on the importance of truth and reconciliation. The children were made to dance, sing and even had their first lesson of throat singing.