Down­town pow-wows help keep the rez close when far from home

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Canada/world -

I am a 23-year-old Ojib­way woman from a 350-pop­u­la­tion First Na­tion about a 17-hour drive from Toronto. I left Seine River First Na­tion ive years ago to study jour­nal­ism at Hum­ber Col­lege.

Mov­ing from the rez to the city has changed my life com­pletely.

I de­cided on school in Toronto be­cause it was a place that would chal­lenge me to get out of my com­fort zone and ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing other than the rez.

It was a hard tran­si­tion. I was home­sick. I knew no other Indige­nous per­son in the city from home, and I had no clue where I could go to meet other Indige­nous peo­ple.

I went to the Abo­rig­i­nal Re­source Cen­tre at my school af­ter search­ing through the col­lege web­site for ser­vices they o ered Indige­nous stu­dents. I met peo­ple there who wel­comed me with open arms. With their help, I started to learn the ways of Indige­nous city life, like where to get a good ban­nock burger and places like the Na­tive Cana­dian Cen­tre of Toronto. But I also learned about the many other cul­tures and peo­ple who re­side here.

Even though I have lived here since 2012, there isn’t a day where I don’t think about home. I miss my com­mu­nity and how peace­ful it is. So I did what I could to keep the feel­ing of home close to me. I paid at­ten­tion to pow-wows, work­shops, fes­ti­vals, and any­thing that had the vibe of home.

The Indige­nous com­mu­nity in Toronto has been noth­ing but wel­com­ing. Home will al­ways be the rez, but in­d­ing a place and com­mu­nity in the city where you’re warmly wel­comed has given me a new sense of be­long­ing, and I’m not ready to let go of that feel­ing any­time soon.

is a holis­tic ap­proach to the sci­ence of hu­man de­vel­op­ment. It com­bines dis­ci­plines such as city plan­ning and ar­chi­tec­ture with hu­man psy­chol­ogy and an­thro­pol­ogy.

You can the old way of think­ing about cities good­bye.


Jas­mine Ka­batay.

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