Gaa-maamawabing, a new space to connect and belong
On Thursday, March 30 the Faculty of Education hosted a ceremony to establish a name for the Indigenous Community Space (Room 322, Education Building). The Pipe Ceremony led by Helen Robinson-Settee and Myra Laramee took place among a small group of guests from the Manitoba community who have contributed to Indigenous education.
The idea of the space was born from the leadership of previous Dean Dr. David Mandzuk and other Indigenous community members of the Faculty of Education including Dr. Frank Deer, Associate Dean Indigenous Education. Our Indigenous Community Space was finished in Winter 2020.
Shortly after the completion of this space, the Indigenous Education Council was established in 2020. The council is responsible for conferring on issues related to Indigenous Engagement. It is composed of Indigenous faculty, Indigenous students, and Indigenous community members. “It didn’t take long before that council began discussing the idea of naming the space, only a small number of spaces at our university have been granted names. The establishment of a name became more and more important to us the longer we talked about”, explains Dr. Frank Deer.
Gaa-maamawabing is intended to support and benefit Indigenous education and Indigenous engagement, “this space is intended to serve as a location for teaching, learning and gathering where Indigenous cultures, knowledges and experiences may be shared”, explains Deer.
“I am hoping that Gaa-maamawabing will become a part of the parlance of this faculty, in our university and particularly our faculty because I think our students need to see that the field of primary, secondary, post secondary Education is changing and we’re finding time and space to create these opportunities to have Indigenous engagement reflected and the university as well, said Deer.