Picture: Walking Together is the name of the new mural found in Wiidowkaaziwin (Gathering Place), the multi-purpose Indigenous space at Cambrian College. The mural was created by artist Jessica Somers, of Lavigne, east of Sudbury, who is Odanak Abekani and also of Metis heritage.
SUDBURY – Cambrian College’s multi-purpose Indigenous space is now home to a new inspiring mural.
Walking Together is a six-panel mural in Wiidokaaziwin (“The Gathering Place”). The mural was created by Jessica Somers, who is Odanak Abekani and also of Metis descent. She is an artist and artist educator from Lavigne, Ontario, east of Sudbury and a graduate of Cambrian’s Social Service Worker-Indigenous Specialization program.
“The mural's primary purpose is to empower community and foster a sense of belonging among my people,” says Somers. “Art has a unique ability to connect people to their culture and heritage, creating a shared sense of identity and pride. Given Cambrian College's diverse student body, such a vibrant and culturally rich mural can help bridge gaps, promote understanding, and make all students feel welcome and included.”
Walking Together is approximately twelve metres in length and one metre in height. It includes representations of the seven grandfathers and the seven original clan systems and is a means of educating the diverse student population at Cambrian College about Indigenous culture and history.
“This is a truly magnificent work of art and a beautiful addition to Wiidokaaziwin,” says Ron Sarazin, director of Cambrian’s Wabnode Centre for Indigenous Services. “It really catches your eye and is a reminder for all of us to remember daily the seven Grandfather teachings of bravery, honesty, humility, love, truth, wisdom and respect.”
The mural is truly a community project. Cambrian’s elders and Indigenous students provided input into the mural’s final design and finishing touches.
Wiidokaaziwin opened last year through a significant contribution from Anmar Mechanical. Sudbury resident Joelle Artindale walked 215 kilometres in memory of the remains of 215 children found on the site of a former residential school and donated the proceeds to the project. Lively’s Brandi Temmerman sold orange Every Child Matters flags that people could place on their property, with those funds also used to support this project.
“One of our strategic priorities here at Cambrian is to provide a learning environment that celebrates and respects Indigenous culture and the diversity of our indigenous learners, and this new mural is definitely a wonderful step in that direction,” adds Cambrian’s President Kristine Morrissey. “We remain a leading college in Ontario for Indigenous learners, which is why we are incorporating Indigenous beliefs, values and culture across campus life, from our curriculum to our student services to our facilities. This mural is another way to ensure Indigenous students feel welcomed, respected and valued at Cambrian.”
Mounting the mural is just one of several activities at Cambrian this week leading up to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day on Saturday. Other events include:
- Taking part in the closing ceremony for this year’s Greater Sudbury Police Service Truth and Reconciliation Relay. Cambrian earned awards for most participants (more than 200 employees and students) and most kilometres completed.
- Creating a Pathway to Reconciliation on campus featuring messages of support, and an Indigenous-themed crosswalk.
- Faculty, staff and students hand-painted stones that were used to create a medicine wheel mosaic displayed at the college’s Sacred Fire Arbour.
- Installation of a large metal medicine wheel designed by alumnus Cody Bradshaw.
- An Indigenous-themed book display in the library.
- Education sessions with elders about Canada’s residential school system and truth and reconciliation.
- Distribution of Every Child Matters orange t-shirts.
To learn more about services for Indigenous students and employees, and Cambrian’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, visit www.cambriancollege.ca/wabnode.
Cambrian College is Northern Ontario’s largest college, with more than 90 programs. Cambrian’s main campus is in Greater Sudbury, with satellite centres in Espanola and Little Current. For more information about Cambrian College, visit www.cambriancollege.ca.
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We acknowledge and respect that we are gathered on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe People of Turtle Island and proudly recognize our local host Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. We also recognize the contributions of Wahnapitae First Nation and the Metis Nation of Ontario.
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