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Northern College unveils bronze Indigenous statues at all four campuses

In honour of Truth and Reconciliation, bronze statues depicting a shawl and grass dancers have been installed at each of Northern College's four campuses in northern Ontario

The one at the Timmins campus is located near the college's main entrance. One Indigenous student said it makes her reflect on her family and her ancestors.

“I think it started a conversation in the classrooms, definitely amongst the staff, definitely sparked questions about the policies and procedures and overall what student life looks like for Indigenous people," said Meghan Akiwenzie.

"The dancers themselves represent children because children are timeless," said Dr. Audrey Penner, president and chief executive officer of Northern College.

"This is not one point in time, it’s not today, it’s not yesterday, it’s not tomorrow, it’s all three.”

Sudbury sculptor Tyler Fauvelle created the statues and included symbols such as the butterfly and the handprint on the drum, which gives people an opportunity to place their own hand upon it and connect.

“It is an overwhelming response and one that’s very hard to describe in words," aid Christina Kioke, manager of Northern College's Indigenous Services and Initiatives.

"You are just filled with emotion thinking of the children, you know, past, present and future and the opportunities that were either taken away or the opportunities that we could provide for them and it instills you with sadness over the dark history with our county but also one of hope.”

The Moosonee campus is the only one that has its statue indoors at floor level, which provides greater accessibility for children.

The Inuit drum and Métis sash that's included in each installation ensures all First Nations are represented.

“Being a grandchild of residential school survivors and having attended Northern College as a student and now an employee, a legacy piece like this illustrates the steps northern college is willing take to ensure that the 94 calls to action for Truth and Reconciliation are being followed and implemented and I feel very comfortable here,” said Kioke.

Penner said the figures serve as a reminder to stop and think about what it means to be a just and inclusive country -- and to recognize the ways in which institutions once abused their powers. Top Stories

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