February in the Aboriginal Student’s Office is full of fun events! Our next community meal and paint night is on Feb. 20 from 5 – 8 p.m. Come out to our monthly drum circle, led by Michael Fraser, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. The Moccasin Making Workshop is back and it will be held on Wednesdays in March! Contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org in the ASO if you want to participate. Dream catcher making will also be happening March 30 from 1 – 4 p.m. in the Rashmi Bale Learning Commons, so sign up by sending an email to the ASO at email@example.com!
One of the new clubs on campus is the Indigenous Club, which aims to foster Indigenous learnings and activities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students at Augustana andanyone is welcome to join the club! They will be meeting for the first time Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the Wahkohtowin Lodge to discuss further meeting times and what club members would like to have happen at club meetings. If you would like to join or have any questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by on Tuesday to have your say about the kinds of activities you’d like to see happen. So far, the club is thinking of having activities such as bannock making, sewing, beading, tea time, and language learning.
The other new club I wanted to mention is the East Asia Club, which aims to help international students at Augustana feel more at home by having opportunities for them to meet and hang out with other students to share their cultures. The club will be holding meetings once a month and the next meeting will be Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m. in F-315, which will also serve as a bonding night for members. The president of the club, Hyun-Joo Lim, informed me they will be eating Chinese sweet rice balls, to celebrate the end of the Spring Festival, and they will be watching a Korean TV show, Running Man. Everyone is welcome to join the club!
Clubs are a great way to unwind once a week or once a month with a group of people who share the same interests as you and to partake in activities that are fun and non school related. They are an awesome opportunity to make friends around campus with who you might not normally see in class, or even be in the same year. I really encourage students who have the free time to join at least one club and commit to going to their meetings as much as possible. Being active in the school environment will really help your university career be rounded and your presence in extra-curricular activities, such as clubs, will help make your experience here at Augustana pleasant and dynamic (and not all about the academics side of things)!
The Aboriginal Students’ Office (ASO) held their monthly drum circle Nov. 22 which was led by Michael Fraser of Cold Lake First Nation. The participants watched a film about the Blackfoot Sundance and honouring culture. We then played a few songs and drummed our end of term stresses away (temporarily, at least).
I asked Abby Lee, a frequent drummer who attends ASO drum circle, on why she likes to drum.
“It’s my meditation … I don’t know, it calms me,” she said, adding that her favourite song is The Charging Buffalo Song and “is [her] power song.” (BTW – the Charging Buffalo song is killer! Super intense and fun to do).
A lot of the students who participate in our drum circle got to make their own drums from the drum making workshop that the ASO puts on every year (also led by Fraser). For many of our students, in addition to connecting with culture, drumming is a chance to get away from the stress of classes. Believe it or not, pounding on our drums and singing along is very soothing and empowering.
On Nov. 27, the ASO held a beading session in the forum for Wellness Week. It was a lot of people’s first time beading – which is super exciting!
Students at this session made earrings, key chains, and bracelets. Elder Myrna also shared stories and teachings while showing newcomers how to bead.
We had a few newcomers this beading session, like Alex Ho. I asked Ho how his first beading experience was and he replied by saying, “It was such an amazing experience! It was really therapeutic and helped with my mental health.”
When asked if he would continue beading or participating in other ASO events, he assured me that he will indeed continue on his beading endeavors and is very excited to participate in other creative Indigenous activities.
Following the beading session, we had our ASO community meal and another beading activity for the Indigenous students in the ASO (if you can’t tell, we love beading). Tacos in a bag was our community meal (…mmm) and we learned to bead popsockets!
Aurora Tupechka, also a first time beader, set out on the adventurous task of beading a popsocket for her phone as her very first project. Tupechka also said that her first time beading was, “extremely therapeutic” and she said, “I enjoyed that we could do it together – it was a nice community activity. It made us come together in the ASO.” Moral of the story: drumming and beading are really good stress relievers!
We were also joined by alumni, Gavin Wilkes, who shared with us what he is doing now that he has graduated. It was really nice to catch up with him! It is always so exciting when former students visit (Psst. It was Wilkes’s first time beading too!).