Stone Pipe Days Kick Off At Lethbridge College
A virtual celebration recognizing the pride, history and knowledge of Lethbridge College’s Indigenous community kicked-off Stone Pipe Days at Lethbridge College on Tuesday. Stone Pipe is the English translation of the college’s Blackfoot name, Ohkotoki’aahkkoiyiiniimaan.
Stone Pipe Days is the college’s annual celebration of its Indigenous community. Tuesday’s kick-off event launched three days of cultural sessions meant to raise awareness and promote discussion of the college’s role in Indigenous education.
“We are committed to working with our local Indigenous community to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and supportive of everyone,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “That’s what our newly-renamed Stone Pipe Days represent – a commitment to learn from, celebrate and collaborate with our local Indigenous community. We need to not just recognize that we are on traditional Blackfoot land, but to take the ideals and lessons of this culture and incorporate them into all we do.”
Tuesday’s event celebrated another chapter in the long-standing partnership between RBC and the college’s Indigenous Services department. RBC committed a $75,000 gift to Indigenous Services through the RBC Foundation Future Launch program. The donation will be directed to Indigenous cultural support programming, the Indigenization of campus and the new Indigenous Mentorship program scheduled to launch in January 2021.
“The story behind our Blackfoot name, Ohkotoki’aahkkoiyiiniimaan, is a story of bringing honesty and integrity to fulfill a partnership or commitment,” says Shanda Webber, Indigenous Services manager. “This story is echoed by the RBC Foundation and Future Launch, which truly have and continue to uphold their promise and commitment to not only helping make Lethbridge College’s Indigenous services and programming sustainable and supportive for our students, but to provide opportunities for our students throughout their entire student lifecycle and beyond,”
RBC began a partnership supporting Indigenous education at Lethbridge College in 2007 and has since provided nearly $700,000 to support Indigenous initiatives, events and programming on campus.
“We at RBC are beyond proud and honored to be included in Stone Pipe Days celebration and are especially proud of our partnership with Lethbridge College,” says Mark Brown, RBC Regional Vice-President – Alberta South. “There is a true commitment to excellence, diversity, and inclusion in everything they do – something that we, at RBC, relate to as it is very much part of our own culture and DNA. They are committed to ensuring that Indigenous students have the opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion through the recognition and respect for their distinct cultures, languages, histories and contemporary perspectives.”
Stone Pipe Days continue on Wednesday as the college’s Indigenous Services department hosts two interactive sessions for prospective students, current students and the broader college community in conjunction with the college’s Virtual Open House. A Circle of Services presentation runs from 11 a.m. to noon and from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m., when everyone is invited to join a fireside chat with the Indigenous Cultural Support Program – Navigating Success Through an Indigenous World View.
Stone Pipe Days wrap up with a screening of nîpawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up, followed by a panel discussion with Jade Tootoosis and Tasha Hubbard. A live screening of the documentary will begin at 3:30 p.m. followed by the panel discussion at 6 p.m. Registration is required for this event. Links to all activities can be found on the Lethbridge College website.