An exciting welcome for Indigenous students

- September 5, 2019

A Teepee was raised outside the Indigenous Student Centre this week as part of orientation activites. (Stefanie Wilson photo)
A Teepee was raised outside the Indigenous Student Centre this week as part of orientation activites. (Stefanie Wilson photo)

The start of a new academic year is an exciting time for Dalhousie students and orientation is one of the great ways for newcomers to get to know people and make themselves at home on campus. From Start on Track online programming to international orientation and Able@Dal, students are encouraged to participate and make the most of these welcoming experiences.

New this year, the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) has been hosting a week-long Indigenous Student Orientation to share knowledge, provide familiarity and build friendships through activities both on and off campus.

This past weekend, a Welcoming Ceremony brought students together from Dalhousie’s Halifax and Truro campuses, as well as from neighbouring Saint Mary’s University, for a day that included a canoe outing honouring Sacred Water.

On Tuesday, a Teepee was raised outside the centre, providing students with a welcoming space to engage in sacred ceremonies as well as games and crafts. The Teepee will remain on campus until Thursday. The ISC has also been hosting a Sacred Fire, lit daily from 12-4pm for the blessing of the students. A very important symbol, the fire provides a place for making offerings and for quiet reflection.

“I can’t wait to learn how students feel about all of this,” says Linda Denny, community outreach and transition to university coordinator for the centre. “When I go to a powwow, I feel revitalized, I feel connected and I get a sense of belonging and groundedness and that’s what I want students to come away with. So many of our students are Indigenous, and we want them to feel good about that.”

A scavenger hunt Wednesday sent students exploring campus and key support services. And on Thursday, students are invited to the Teepee for a game of Waltes or to create a faceless doll in commemoration of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. There will also be ribbon on hand so students can prepare their regalia for Dalhousie's 10th annual Mawio’mi.

Students can learn about herbal medicines at a social gathering with tea and refreshments on Friday, and orientation events conclude with a Sweat Lodge Ceremony Saturday for registered students.

While many of the sacred activities are for Indigenous students and by registration only, all Dalhousie students, faculty and staff are welcome to visit the Teepee and learn more about Indigenous heritage.


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