Indigenous Awareness Week goes virtual in 2021

Students, staff and faculty recognize Indigenous Awareness Week from Feb 22 - 26

Various events took place virtually from Feb. 22-26 to honour Indigenous Awareness week. Most events took place over Vimeo, while others used different streaming platforms or were held in person with COVID-19 protocols in place.

Elizabeth Spike, TRU Indigenous Cultural Coordinator, was the organizer of Indigenous Awareness Week. She was the host of each live stream on Vimeo and introduced and facilitated each of the events. Spike said that the week was a success regardless of taking place in a pandemic.

The week kicked off with the opening ceremonies on Feb. 22 via Vimeo live stream. Following the opening ceremonies was a live stream regarding the Moose Hide Campaign, which is, “a movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence toward women and children,” according to the event description.

There was also a drive-by event where students could pick up a care package containing a Be Kind pink t-shirt, a face mask, hand sanitizer and other items. The last event on Monday was The Spiritual Warriors, which was a group of Salish singers sharing their language through song.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, participants had the opportunity to “experience a smudging demonstration and learn more about its significance,” according to the event description. Following the smudging demonstration was a session where participants could learn about traditional medicine with Rhona Bowe.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, participants had the chance to join in on discussions surrounding traditional land acknowledgement. 

On Thursday, Feb. 25, a session was held for people to learn some new words and phrases in Secwepemctsín from Marie Sandy. In the afternoon, there was “a one-hour bannock-making demonstration led by Indigenous Student Mentor Rebecca Fabian,” according to the event description. 

Students were given a demonstration on how to make the traditional fried bread, and dry ingredients were provided to Canadian residents who signed up before Feb. 15. Anyone was welcome to participate if they had the ingredients available to them.

The last event to round off the week was a Virtual Round Dance on Friday, Feb. 26. There were three dancers/speakers that participated in the event and sang in the Virtual Round Dance that ended the week.

Vernie Clement, Supervisor of Indigenous Student Development, said he was, “really happy that this has come together, and you guys can join virtually.”

Although Indigenous Awareness Week has come and gone, anyone interested in the events that took place can check out the discussions and presentations for free on TRU Media’s Vimeo Account at vimeo.com/trulive/videos.