OHSWEKEN – On July 24, close to 3,000 Indigenous educators will gather at Chiefswood Park to celebrate the opening ceremonies of the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE).
WIPCE is an International Conference that began 30 years ago in Victoria, B.C.
The official opening ceremonies were originally scheduled to be hosted in Toronto, however due to flooding at the city’s waterfront the ceremonies have now been moved to Six Nations.
WIPCE 2017 is expected to attract more than 3,000 visitors from around the world. Among the visitors will also be highly regarded experts and scholars in the field of Indigenous Education.
As part of the welcoming, members of the Haudenosaunee traditional community will host a welcoming ceremony inviting guests to the territory.
Rick Hill, a Haudenosaunee historian and Advisor for the Bundled Arrows Initiative says the ceremony will be an extraordinary event.
“The Haudenosaunee, one of the oldest continuously operating traditional governments will be welcoming Indigenous people from around the world. The Chiefs of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora will call upon their ancient tradition of greeting visitors to our land. It will be beautiful and quite moving.”
During the greeting, the Haudenosaunee officials will metaphorically wipe away any tears the visitors may have from the grief that comes from the passing of a loved one so that hope can be restored; clear the ears so that good words can be heard; and clear the throat so that the visitor will be able to speak clearly. This ensures that there will be good communication between host and visitor and that the visitors will be clear-minded and not allow lingering trauma to interfere with a good exchange of ideas.
Indigenous representatives working in education are headed to the conference from across the world including members of the Sami, Ainu, Maori and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Six Nations and TAP Resources are the hosts to this year’s conference, being held July 24-28 at various locations across the community and in Toronto. Discussions will centre around indigenous initiatives in education worldwide.
WIPCE 2017 is expected to have a tremendous economic impact on the city of Toronto with visitor expenditures projected to be over $8.5 million
Rebecca Jamieson, president and CEO at Six Nations Polytechnic says “the WIPCE conference continues to lead the discussion on contemporary movements in education that support Indigenous worldviews. The opening ceremonies provide a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the public to participate in an international Indigenous cultural and knowledge exchange. Everyone is welcome to attend.”
Anyone from Six Nations interested in attending the conference can register online at www.wipce2017.com with daily transportation from Six Nations to conference events in Toronto. To register for transportation registrants can call Six Nations Polytechnic at 519-445-0023.