Keeping Traditions Alive at Indigenous Wellness Symposium – HWDSB

May 16, 2017

Hundreds of students from across grades and HWDSB schools packed Westdale’s auditorium on May 12 to hear keynote speaker Tom Porter (Sakokwenionkwas “The One Who Wins”) share stories of First Nations beliefs, goodwill and tradition. It represented the opening of the first annual Indigenous Wellness Symposium hosted by Westdale secondary.

With workshops and a keynote speaker organized by the Indigenous Student Association of Westdale, the day was also the culminating event for a Hamilton-Uclulet exchange that saw students from both communities learn about each other and their own indigenous roots. Students representing six different British Columbia nations attended the day.

Porter, a member of the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, is the founder, spokesperson and spiritual leader of the Mohawk Community of Kanatsiohareke (Ga na jo ha lay gay) located in the Mohawk Valley near Fonda, New York since 1993.

Workshops included:

  • Rod Nettagog – Traditional medicines and teaching behind smudging and the Medicine Wheel.
  • Marilyn Wright from the De dwa da dehs nye, the Hamilton Aboriginal Health Centre – Wellness and cooking
  • Courtney Williams – The teaching and making of dream catchers.

Event partners included the Fort Erie Friendship Centre, Hamilton Community Foundation, Hamilton Regional Indigenous Centre, HWDSB Foundation, Indig @ Mac, Mohawk College, Suicide Prevention Council of Hamilton and YMCA Canada.

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