By Schnarr, J.W. on February 17, 2017.
A small, culturally diverse group of people came together at Lethbridge College on Thursday in celebration of Black History Month.
The event was titled “Traditional Dress Day.” Students wore clothing traditional to their cultures, while also wearing flag printouts of the countries they represent.
Dominique Charles, a student representative for the Lethbridge College Students Association, said with everything happening at school and going on in the lives of students, embracing diversity of different local cultures can “fall by the wayside.”
She added future plans involve organizing a multicultural group on campus.
“I think it is a really good thing this is happening finally,” she said. “I’m really proud of everything (at the college) we’ve all done so far.”
The first person of African heritage to come to what is now Canada was Mathieu Da Costa in 1604.
Da Costa was a multilingual interpreter who spoke English, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Pidgin Basque, and is credited with providing an invaluable link between the Mik’maq people and Europeans.
Since that time, black Canadians have contributed significantly to Canadian culture and to its history in the face of tremendous hardship.
In 1995, the Canadian federal government officially recognized February as Black History Month.
Alberta is officially recognizing Black History Month for the first time in 2017. The province has the third-largest black population in the country, according to the 2011 census.
Patricia Omene, a co-ordinator for the event, said the event provides an opportunity to come together to celebrate black culture.
“Usually, when you think about black history, it’s almost always in the states,” she said. “There’s a lot of black history in Canada as well. It’s not common knowledge. So it was really good that the government was actually (recognizing black history). I was really surprised.”
Other on-campus events at Lethbridge College this month include weekly screenings of movies with black themes and a cultural games celebration on Feb. 28.
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