“We live in a diverse community and it is to everyone’s benefit to have a greater awareness of cultures other than their own,” said Jillian Higgins, a third-year student in the Loyalist Child and Youth Worker program. Jillian was one of many individuals who attended the 2009 Festival of Native Arts, hosted at Loyalist on November 7th. “One of the courses we are taking in our program this semester is Culture and Diversity — Out of Your Comfort Zone. I decided that the festival would be a good way to learn more about aboriginal culture and I’m really glad that I came. There is so much to do and see here. One interesting opportunity I had was to discover first-hand the time and detail it takes to make a dream catcher — one of the beautiful, traditional aboriginal crafts.”
“When I first walked in the dancers were performing and it was amazing,” said Amanda White, another student from the Child and Youth Worker program. “This is the first time that I have attended the festival and I’m so glad that I did. It’s been a great way to learn more about this culture.”
Elizabeth Moir from Belleville also attended the festival. “It’s a great way to learn more about another culture. The speakers and the dancers are great and I also found out more about the aboriginal culture by talking to the different art vendors here. Many traditions and beliefs are reflected in the designs and it has been interesting to talk with the artists and learn more about this.”
“I feel a real sense of peacefulness here today as I watch people of all ages and walks of life sharing the joys and beautiful traditions that are of such importance to the aboriginal community,” said Paul Latchford, coordinator of the Aboriginal Resource Center at Loyalist. “When we host events such as this at the college our aboriginal students affirm their pride in their culture. It also helps to instill a greater connection within the college community.”
Included in the day’s festivities were performances by the Akwesasne Drum Group, the Ottawa Women’s Drummers, David and Aurora Finkle, Jiggy Maracle, the Tyendinaga Women’s Singers and the Tyendinaga Young Women’s Singers and Drummers.
Click for more information about the Loyalist Aboriginal Resource Centre.
Dave Jock from Akwesasne near Cornwall.
Shaelan Irving and her family making dream catchers.
Tired little dancer.