Aboriginal Resource Centre marks winter solstice custom

Volunteers for Winter Dash on Wednesday, honouring importance of winter solstice in Aboriginal cultures. (Patrick Simpson) Volunteers for Winter Dash on Wednesday, honouring importance of winter solstice in Aboriginal cultures. (Patrick Simpson)

Patrick Simpson

News reporter

Humber’s North campus Aboriginal Resource Centre marked the holiday season on Wednesday with a festive dinner called a Winter Dash, meant to overlap the winter solstice which is rooted in indigenous cultures.

Students, faculty, guests and volunteers enjoyed a hot meal along with games, a secret Santa gift exchange, and some attendees even got to build a gingerbread house.

The gathering was a year-end celebration for the centre and acted as a break for indigenous students, and students who volunteered in past Aboriginal Resource Centre events.

“I think it’s good opportunity to get people together,” said Charles Petahtegoose, a 23-year-old second year civil engineering student. “You know it’s hard when people are trying to reach out. This is a good opportunity to get people to bond, to come closer together.

“It helps students socialize and bond with other students. I know for myself, I come to events, I’ve made friends. It really helped me adjust to Toronto life,” he said.

Linh Tran, 19, a first year business accounting student, said the Winter Dash is a great way to meet like-minded students from both Lakeshore and North campuses.

“They bring people together and it gives you a chance to meet people with the same interests as you, and I really like to get involved in events like this,” Tran said.

Regina Hartwick, manager at the Aboriginal Resource Centre, said the occasion is meant to help students relax before final exams start.

“It’s an opportunity for students and staff to get together and to share in the season and also have a real break because it’s a really stressful time for students at this particular moment,” Hartwick said.

Kelsie Johnston, an Aboriginal Liaison officer at the centre, said the event was about uniting the students that attend the centres at Lakeshore and North campuses.

“We do a lot to try and interact with one another, just because for us it’s not just about the resources that we can give but the community that we can create here for our students and staff,” Johnston said.

She said indigenous events like the Winter Dash allow students outside of the centre to know of the influence aboriginal culture has on our Canadian history.

“We want students and staff at Humber to recognize that you’re on indigenous territory especially. I work at the Lakeshore campus more so, but Toronto for example comes from an indigenous word, Tkaronto,” Johnston said.

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