A weeklong celebration of Aboriginal life and history is designed to teach the Carleton University community about the little-discussed culture, one of the organizers said yesterday.
Hundreds of students attended the opening day of Aboriginal Awareness Week, which runs through Thursday at Carleton.
The event is about “letting people see what Aboriginality is about, and being available to follow up,” Aboriginal cultural liaison officer for the Centre of Aboriginal Culture and Education Irvin Hill said.
“Some people have a hard time asking questions. They want to know, but want to be respectful,” he said.
The third annual event, which includes performances, demonstrations, panels and guest speeches by First Nations, Métis and Inuit presenters, isn’t just targeted towards the school’s population of Aboriginal students, which numbers about 400, Hill said.
The event teaches the school population about “the culture and some of the issues that are affecting people today,” Hill said.
Issues affecting Aboriginal people include substandard housing and education, Hill said.
Some of the Aboriginal students at Carleton are the first generation in their families to pursue post-secondary education, he said, which can lead to them dealing with matters that aren’t in their comfort zones.