June 24th, 2024

College celebrates Blackfoot culture with Stone Pipe Days

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on March 18, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Attendees take part in a Round Dance led by Black Lodge Singers David Spotted Eagle and Shane Across the Mountain on Thursday as part of Stone Pipe Days at Lethbridge College.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Stone Pipe Days kicked off at Lethbridge College Thursday to celebrate and showcase what Blackfoot culture has to offer and the college’s role in Indigenous education.
Lethbridge College was given the name Ohkotoki’aahkkoiyiiniimaan which means Stone Pipe, by Elder Peter Weasel Moccasin in 2017.
“The Stone Pipe days is a reflection of the cultural connection the Blackfoot have with the territory, and it is also a celebration of what Blackfoot people are all about. We are all about hosting and celebrating,” said Lowell Yellowhorn, Indigenous services manager at Lethbridge College.
He said they have social elements which is what they are trying to promote during the event.
“To build those cultural connections not only for the community, but for our students. It is a reaffirmation of those Indigenous education protocols that Lethbridge College has adopted and embraced as part of reconciliation in education,” said Yellowhorn.
During the kick off ceremony Thursday at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium, Lethbridge College honoured their partner of many years, the RBC Foundation, which in 2021 committed to providing $225,000 over three years to support Indigenous programming at the college.
“We have been very fortunate to have a partner like RBC who truly believes in what we are doing,” said Paula Burns, Lethbridge College president and CEO during the ceremony.
RBC Regional Vice President – Alberta South, Mark Brown, said during the ceremony they have partnered with the college for many years believing that each and every year the college should push itself toward improvement.
“You stretch what you can do with your program to include more, to create a more creative, inclusive, and welcoming environment. But what you’re doing is truly impactful not just on an organizational level, but on a personal level,” said Brown.
He said the college is changing for the future and they can see it in the continued growth of their program.
“The commitment that you have to our youth education and making higher education a more welcoming place is truly creating a successful environment… we are all better because of the work that you are doing here,” said Brown.
Stone Pipe Days will conclude today with a Blackfoot cultural presentation featuring guest speaker Dougie Hall of the Blackfeet Tribe. A motivational speaker and cultural presenter, Hall will share his story of hardship, adversity, resiliency and humour from 1 – 2:30 p.m.

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