July 18, 2013 marks a historic occasion for the Native Counsellor Training Program and the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association. Former graduates, staff, students, and community members gathered at Laurentian University to feast their Eagle staff which has come to the Native Counsellor Training Program after delivery of 36 years of the program.
Elder Peter Beaucage conducted the traditional ceremony and staff and students of the Native Counsellor Training Program prepared the feast for the staff. Many people have contributed to bringing this to light. Thirty three Feathers have come from across the province from graduates, community members, elders and people who have felt the impact of the Native Counsellor Training Program. It took three years to come together under the careful watch of Nokimis Hilda Nadjiwon who was given tobacco to vision the staff and begin the work of sewing and putting it together.
Emotions ran high when the ceremony was completed and the staff took it’s place in the centre of the room. Peter spoke of how the staff will guide the work we do and the strength that it will bring to ONECA and the Native Counsellor Training Program.
Former graduates shared their stories and their experiences about how the program has impacted them and their families, their work and their lives. ONECA president Roger Chum expressed gratitude to all those who have worked so hard to bring this staff to life.
It truly was an amazing day and it is so hard to describe; the closest I can come to describing the feeling is when a new born baby comes to this world.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the ceremony and contributed to bringing this incredible life to our organization.