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REF NO.: 129

SUBJECT: Aboriginal Diversity Awareness Celebration at Memorial University
DATE: March 1, 2012

Memorial’s Aboriginal Resource Office, in partnership with the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, is hosting an Aboriginal Diversity Awareness Celebration on Memorial University’s St. John’s campus on Friday, March 2.
This two-hour event has been held each semester since 2009, offering something a little different each time. This iteration will include food, music, crafts, games and special presentations. These will include a tribute to the Beothuk, music from Bedago, a presentation on Inuksuit and an information session regarding the Southern Labrador Inuit. Also presenting will be Chief Brendan Sheppard of the newly-created Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
“There is a lot of inaccurate information out there about Aboriginal people in this province,” said Sheila Freake, co-ordinator of the Aboriginal Resource Office at Memorial. “We feel that this lack of knowledge often leads to discrimination and that it is important to educate faculty, students and staff about Aboriginal diversity. This can clarify the myths and misconceptions that people have about all Aboriginal groups in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Ms. Freake said there are a lot of positive practices and traditions within Aboriginal groups that are often not shared or understood. 
 “This event gives Aboriginal students the opportunity to participate and share positive information about their respective groups,” she said. “Offering these sessions sends the message that we do have a huge Aboriginal population attending Memorial and that we are eager to promote and accept Aboriginal diversity within our province.” 
In Friday’s session, Ms. Freake hopes that people will leave with an understanding of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band, gain an understanding of the NunatuKavut organization and be exposed to the different meanings of the Inuksuit (plural of “Inukshuk”).
“There will be an opportunity to try Aboriginal foods, purchase some Aboriginal crafts and hear beautiful music from the Bedago singers,” said Ms. Freake.
The event takes place from12-2 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at The Landing (UC-3018) in Memorial’s University Centre.
Memorial’s Aboriginal Resource Office offers presentations on Aboriginal diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador. If any group would like this presentation delivered to them at any time, please contact their office at 709-864-3495/2118.

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