The sixth annual Aboriginal Awareness Day at Durham College (DC), held in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC) on January 25, drew students, employees, community members and local elementary school groups into a lively celebration of Indigenous culture. Presented by DC’s Aboriginal Student Centre, Suswaaning Endaajig, this year’s event focused on the connection between environmental health and personal wellness.
Elder Gerard Sagassige emceed the program, which included a traditional prayer led by Elder Shirley Williams and a poignant performance by Kim Wheatley focusing on water as life and the respect and gratitude it deserves. There were also performances by the All My Relations drum circle, Inuit throat singer Naulaq LeDrew, the Smoke Trail Singers and Dancers, a Métis fiddler and guitar duo and storyteller Darrell LaFrance.
The college’s Sustainability office also participated in the event by creating a virtual reality environment inside the CRWC to raise awareness of nature deficit disorder and how health, wellness and the environment are all connected.
The Aboriginal Student Centre strives to recognize and support students through various activities and teachings with the assistance of Elders from all backgrounds. It uses a holistic approach to education by focusing on student’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.