Aboriginal Awareness Week

Aboriginal Awareness Week

*This opportunity is open to ALL UTM community members.

What is Aboriginal Awareness Week?

Aboriginal Awareness Week (AAW) is a week-long initiative following the Victoria Day weekend. Introduced in 1992, AAW had the goal of "increasing awareness of Aboriginal peoples within the Canadian mosaic and the public service." In the past, AAW was largely focused on providing public servants with opportunities to learn more about First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and Indigenous cultures. Today, Aboriginal Awareness Week has expanded beyond its original intention in order to create meaningful opportunities for individuals and communities across Canada to explore and learn more about Indigenous peoples, cultures, philosophies and ways of life.

On behalf of the Centre for Student Engagement, the Equity and Diversity Office and the UTM Indigenous Centre, we invite you to celebrate Aboriginal Awareness Week with us from Tuesday, May 21st to Thursday, May 23rdAboriginal Awareness Week is an opportunity for all members of the UTM community to build awareness on, learn more about, celebrate our Indigenous community through several events. 

Featured Events

Day One: Mohawk Language Exhibit

Tuesday, May 21st from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in CCT Atrium

Did you know that 2019 has been declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations? Join us in celebrating one of Canada’s 70+ Indigenous languages, Kanien’kéha, People of the Flint language or Mohawk language. The Mohawk Language Exhibit is an interactive experience featuring several Language Spots created to amplify exposure to Indigenous languages and inspire curiosity about Indigenous culture, history and the importance of preserving and sustaining endangered languages. This event is in collaboration with Hart House, the UTM Equity and Diversity Office and the UTM Indigenous Centre. Learn more by visiting:harthouse.ca/indigenous-language-exhibit.

*No registration is required, bring headphones to listen to the audio stories displayed!

Day Two: Evening Teaching Circle

Wednesday, May 22nd from 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the Indigenous Centre (DV 3206)

Led by Cat Criger, traditional teaching circles are an opportunity to become immersed in Indigenous tradition, ceremony and culture through Indigenous philosophical teachings which will develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous ways of being, understanding life and walking in a good way. The focus of the circle will be guided by thoughts, questions or needs of those participating.

*No registration is required, this event is drop-in.

Day Three: Lunch and Learn

Thursday, May 23rd from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in NE 3295

Join us for a Lunch and Learn led by Cat Criger featuring Indigenous perspectives, philosophies and teachings surrounding the changing of the seasons and the natural transition between spring and summer. Lunch featuring UTM’s new Indigenous menu will be served.

*Spots are limited for this event. Kindly RSVP by emailing mariana.villadarivera@utoronto.ca. Please include any dietary restrictions and accommodation requirements.


Social Media Campaign: Aboriginal Awareness Week

Follow along on our Instagram (@utmengagefor a campaign highlighting several Indigenous peoples in celebrating Aboriginal Awareness Week throughout the week! 

Buffy Saint Marie Carey Price Ethel Blondin Andrew Graham Greene

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte – Marie is a Canadian – American singer – songwriter, educator and social activist. Buffy was born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan. At the 55th Academy Awards, Buffy made history as the first and to this day the only Indigenous person to have won an Academy Award, which was won for Best Original Song. In 1975, Buffy received a call from Dulcy Singer, the producer of Sesame Street. Singer wanted Buffy to guest star on the show and teach the viewers the alphabet. Buffy refused to do so, and instead went on to teach young viewers about Indigenous culture and bring awareness to Indigenous people! #AboriginalAwarenessWeek

Carey Price

Carey Price is a professional ice hockey goal tender currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens. Price is of Ulkatcho First Nation descent through his mother. He is extremely honoured of his heritage and encourages young people to be proud of their roots. At the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Price made Canada proud when he stopped all 31 shots made by Team USA. That year he won his first gold medal as an Olympian!  #AboriginalAwarenessWeek

Ethel Blondin-Andrew

Honourable Ethel Dorothy Blondin – Andrew was the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Parliament of Canada. Ethel began her career in the Northwest Territories as a teacher after graduating from the University of Alberta in 1974. In 1981 she became involved in policy development which signified her first dive into politics. Six years later, she made history when she won the Western Arctic seat for the liberals, and was elected to Parliament. #AboriginalAwarenessWeek

Graham Greene

Graham Greene is an Onieda actor born in Onsweken, on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. Greene is an Academy Award nominee who has worked with names such as Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson. After graduating from the Toronto-based Centre for Indigenous Theatre's Native Theatre School program in 1974, Greene went on to work on stage, in film and in TV. Greene has appeared in mainstream movies and television such as Twilight and Riverdale. His most notable performance was when he starred in Dances with Wolves, which led to an Academy Award nomination! #AboriginalAwarenessWeek

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For all inquiries regarding Aboriginal Awareness Week at the Centre for Student Engagement, please contact:

Mariana Villada Rivera
Access and Outreach Programs Assistant, Centre for Student Engagement 
University of Toronto Mississauga, Davis Building Room 2092 (map)