Update: Lethbridge College has been given the Blackfoot name Ohkotoki’aahkkoiyiiniimaan (Stone Pipe), today during Indigenous Celebration Day. Stone pipes are used in sacred ceremonies of the Blackfoot people to make an offering to Iihtsipaatapi’op, the Source of Life. The pipe, he said, kept and keeps the Blackfoot people at peace.
Elder Peter Weasel Moccasin described how that the offering of a stone pipe is a promise or a peace bond made with the honesty and integrity needed to fulfill the commitment. During the offering of the pipe, everyone involved must uphold and carry out the promises made.
“We are so incredibly grateful to receive this name from our local Blackfoot community,” says Dr. Paula Burns, President and CEO of Lethbridge College. “We recognize the importance of Indigenous education and the vitally important perspectives that the local Indigenous community bring to the work that we do here every day. We will respect our name with a promise to continue on the straight path to improving the lives of our students and the communities that they call home.”
The land where Lethbridge College sits is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot people and the giving of a Blackfoot name is an important step towards strengthening ties with the local Indigenous community.
By Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM
Tomorrow, Lethbridge College, hosted by Indigenous Services, will showcase its Indigenous students, employees and community members during Indigenous Celebration Day, sponsored by RBC.
This is an annual event, but this year the college will be granted a Blackfoot name from Elder Peter Weasel Moccasin.
“Along with our opening ceremonies, (the naming) will be part of the morning events, said college spokesperson Marcia Blackwater.
“It’s quite significant. It’s just really an opportunity… for that learning, and everything with the truth and reconciliation right across Canada…. and becoming culturally aware.” It’s an important step to connect with the territory and the ties to the community.
The name won’t be known until tomorrow.
“The event just gives us an opportunity to celebrate that pride, the history, and all the knowledge and diversity that our Indigenous students bring to our campus, said Blackwater.
The celebration will also feature traditional entertainment, displays and food, celebrating all of the region’s Indigenous cultures.
The afternoon will feature performances from Lethbridge College alumnus and Armond Duck Chief, Will Big Bull and Soul Sisters.
A traditional feast of Buffalo stew and bannock will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The entire event is free to attend and is open to anyone from both the college and the community at large.
All festivities will take place in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.