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University of Sudbury 2017 2 PHOTOS 14 SEPT 0035On Thursday, September 14, 2017, a crowd gathered for the official unveiling of the Indigenous Nishnaabe-gkendaaswin Teg arbour at the University of Sudbury.

During this ceremony, both the arbour structure and a recognition plaque were unveiled. To mark this special occasion, Elder Jerry Otowadjiwan and Elder Josephine Mandamin shared their wisdom, and assisted with a Pipe Ceremony, the Lighting of the First Fire and the Offering.

According to Indigenous traditions, women participants donned long skirts, and the arbour, previously referred to as the Sacred Fire Arbour, donned its new name: Nishnaabe-gkendaaswin Teg, meaning “Where Indigenous Knowledge Is”. This sacred space serves as a place to sit with ancestors, seek the wisdom of Elders, receive teachings, explore one’s place within Creation and share in peace, understanding and thoughtful contemplation. It will be used significantly, by the students and faculty of the University of Sudbury, as well as those of the Laurentian Federation and by the community at large, for other such ceremonies and occasions in line with the purpose of the space.

This long-standing important project has been a collaborative effort, and the arbour is the fruit of consultations with the Indigenous Studies Department to ensure the creation of a respectful space of Indigenous teachings at the University of Sudbury.

“We thank all those that were present for this monumental occasion in the history of the University of Sudbury. We know, and we can see from the level of interest the arbour has garnered, that this space is important for our entire community,” states Dr. Sophie Bouffard, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sudbury. “We also say chi-miigwetch once again to all those that took part in this collaborative, successful project that will benefit many, including the students of our Indigenous Studies program.”