Wednesday , 21 October 2020

Smudging space approved at Portage College

The proposal for a new cultural venue has been approved for Portage College in Lac La Biche.

It will be an Indigenous Smudging and Cultural Awareness Venue, which will help bring students and staff together to help celebrate the Indigenous culture and the benefits that smudging brings.

Especially since more than 45 per cent of students at the college identify as Indigenous.

“The College recognizes the cultural significance of smudging and views it as an important support to student mental health needs,” said Nancy Broadbent, President and CEO of Portage College in a written statement.

“Portage looks forward to building this impactful new venue and greatly appreciates the support from the governments of Canada and Alberta.”

Funding will be coming from Canada’s Infrastructure Plan, and it will be covering 40 per cent of the total costs while the college will be paying for the rest. The project is estimated to cost around $100,000.

There are programs at the college that will benefit from having the cultural venue, seeing as there are protocols that must be followed when it comes to smudging, and without a space like this those programs have to plan well in advanced.

Programs such as Aboriginal Teacher Education (a partnership with the University of Alberta), Aboriginal Art Certificate and Artisan Entrepreneurship Diploma as well the Portage College Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art and Artifacts are all going to be able to use the space and benefit from having a dedicated smudging venue.

“This project is in keeping with Portage’s strong Indigenous roots and will benefit students and staff for years to come,” said Broadbent.

“We are very grateful for the community and government support for this initiative.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.