Northern College’s Indigenous Services Department hosted an art lesson for students and staff to learn more about Indigenous art and culture. Local artist Justice Sutherland guided the participants through the painting of a turtle and a medicine wheel.
Sutherland says she turned to art to learn more about her Indigenous roots.
“My grandfather who was from Fort Albany– he unfortunately passed away in the late seventies, leaving my mother. She didn’t really actually get to know Cree or anything like that and so we took it upon both of ourselves to educate ourselves and so through artwork is how I did it,” she said.
Northern College officials said more workshops like this one will be offered over the months to come including ones on how to make drums, moccasins, and mitts.
“Our culture is being brought out there and people want to learn and people want to know about it now and that’s very important because of our history and how damaging it was. It’s nice to bring something like this as a healing,” said Armanda Sutherland, an Indigenous Services and Initiatives Assistant.
“Well, with what’s going on in this country right now with Truth and Reconciliation, anything that can be done to advance that agenda is definitely necessary,” said Kathy Gagain, an employee at the Northern College and workshop participant.
Knowing that more effort will be made to teach people about Indigenous culture makes Justice happy. She said as she learns more about it, she’s realizing that regardless of one’s background, we are all the same.