The Trent University Durham community came together to raise the campus tipi, to mark the beginning of another academic year, and to signify the University’s continued commitment to elevating Indigenous Knowledge and creating Indigenous spaces on campus.
The 16-foot tipi, with a new handcrafted canvas donated by former Trent University Board Chair Anne Wright, was built and delivered by David Lundberg, owner of Sewn Home. The tipi is raised every year.
Lundberg gave Trent University Durham staff and students a tutorial of how to properly select and tie together the starting three lodge poles to raise the tipi. Staff and students were then invited to participate in the construction, tying clove hitches and knots, raising additional lodge poles, and unravelling and staking down the canvas.
On-campus connections to Indigeneity
Bobbie-Ann McCulloch ’19, Trent Durham Indigenous student and community engagement assistant, said, “Being a part of the FPHL community at Durham and taking care of the Tipi has been extremely meaningful for me, as I've been able to feel more connected to my heritage, be proud of my ancestors, and participate in the continuation of the space for future students. “
She hopes the tipi will have a significant impact on students’ journey at Trent Durham.
Once the tipi was raised, Lorenzo Whetung, FPHL’s cultural advisor, opened the space with a Pipe Ceremony, which included blessings and well wishes from members of FPHL.
Keanna Brown, a fourth-year Political Studies Indigenous student, said having the tipi and the First Peoples House of Learning (FPHL) gives her a place to connect with her Indigeneity.
“The tipi and other Indigenous spaces on campus make me feel like I belong, and I can contribute to my community in these spaces,” she said.
The Trent community is invited to visit the Trent Durham tipi every Thursday, for a social fire hosted by the Trent Durham firekeepers. This event is open to all as a way to build connections with students, faculty and staff. The tipi can only be used by an approved fire keeper and with FPHL’s permission.
The space will also be used for Full Moon Ceremonies and other FPHL events throughout the academic year.