A Recap: Aboriginal Awareness Week 2015
The week of March 9-13 marked the third annual Aboriginal Awareness Week hosted by Briercrest College and Seminary. Students, faculty, and staff of Briercrest’s three schools were invited to partake in a week of fun activities, deep learning and growth by celebrating the lives of Aboriginal Canadians and raising awareness within the local community.
Aboriginal Awareness Week (AAW) was initiated by several individuals at Briercrest in response to a need for more celebration and reconciliation among Aboriginal people of Saskatchewan. Kallie Wood, the Aboriginal Director at Caronport High School and Briercrest College and Seminary, was a strong force behind AAW. “My prayer for the week was that creating awareness will lead to healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, and wholeness for the entire Body of Christ – as well as for those who have yet to experience renewed relationship with our Creator in Christ,” says Wood.
Johanna Bird, a member of Peguis First Nation and a professor in both English and Native Studies at Briercrest, anticipated the AAW as a season of “great opportunity for learning and celebration.” She sees the five days as pivotal for pupils: “AAW gives students opportunities to be acquainted with their aboriginal brothers and sisters with shared history … the Aboriginal community is a significant portion of our population and yet we continually find ourselves lacking knowledge about first peoples.”
The week hosted a wide array of interactive activities for those wishing to participate in Aboriginal traditions. Students were invited to visit an outdoor tipi display featuring a warm camp fire, fresh made bannock on a stick, and sautéed moose meat. Guest speakers provided fresh perspective on the Aboriginal community and promoted greater awareness for the need for healing and restoration. Thursday evening was filled with music in the Hildebrand Chapel as the Jolly Aboriginal Scholarship Benefit Concert commenced. Internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Don Amero was the headliner for the benefit and gave the audience an incredible evening. The week’s festivities also included a concert from Harmony through Harmony, performances from Refined Undignified, hoop dancing, and an Aboriginal art gallery.
For Kallie Wood, the week’s events were meant to give students more than simply an experience. More importantly, the goal was to give: “All who attended were equipped with greater insight into how best to understand and appreciate the cultural and colonial history, and present complexity, of the lives of Aboriginal Canadians.” Reflecting the school’s vision, Wood continues; “My hope is that each person will be awakened - be quickened - to embrace God's heart for Aboriginal people.”
Aboriginal Awareness Week is scheduled for March 7-11th 2016. For more information, please visit the Aboriginal Centre website here.