An Aboriginal gathering space was officially opened today at the campus by representatives of the college and local community, as well as the Hon. Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. The space features artwork and cultural artifacts commissioned by local Aboriginal bands, as well as study spaces and lounge areas. The Chetwynd facility also includes an adjacent office for an Aboriginal coordinator, and a kitchen.
"Gathering spaces are an important part of the quality of life for Aboriginal students, and I believe this new space will help enrich the college experience not just for Aboriginal learners, but for all learners at Northern Lights College,” said Henriette Landry, Aboriginal education coordinator at the campus, in a statement. “There will be opportunities for ceremonial and cultural events, sharing of oral traditions, art and material displays, and language revitalization and Circle teachings."
The gathering space is one of four created at NLC's campuses through $600,000 in funding from the provincial government. The first gathering space opened in 2009 at the Fort Nelson campus.
Construction of the gathering space in Chetwynd included donations from Talisman Energy and Walter Energy, and the funding from Talisman helped purchase a new ventilation system that will allow cultural activities such as smudging to take place in the gathering space.
The provincial government is investing $13.6 million to create 27 Aboriginal gathering spaces in public post-secondary institutions across British Columbia.