These wooden poles will be used to construct a tipi at the NSCC Strait Campus.

PORT HAWKESBURY: The ideas of friendship and collaboration are being put to use for a new project at the local community college.

On March 2, Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan announced funding for NSCC student-led projects through the Difference Dollars for Service Learning initiative. One such project involves the construction of a tipi at the NSCC Strait Area Campus.

Natural Resources and Environmental Technology students from NSCC Strait Area Campus and Wagmatcook Learning Centre carry poles that will be used to construct a tipi at the campus.

The project started with students Bryson Syliboy and Evan Lafford. Syliboy, a second-year student in the Marine Navigation program from the Sipekne’katik First Nation, said First Nations students like him are not allowed to perform smudging on site as it may set off fire alarms.

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“We wanted to create a safe place for ceremonies in our school so we decided it was best to have something outside and something that’s weather-ish proof,” said Syliboy.

“We decided we wanted a tipi.”

He said natural resources students teamed up with First Nations students and the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources to put in a proposal for the Difference Dollars program, from which they received $2,500 for the 30-foot diameter tipi.

“The Mi’kmaw students wanted a place where they could smudge and we were trying to figure out how to do that,” said Waddie Long, a faculty lead with the project.

“We put a committee together and along comes this Difference Dollars offering.”

Local NSCC Strait Area Campus and Wagmatcook Learning Centre students removed the bark from trees which will be used to construct a tipi at the school.

March 28 will see a Truth and Reconciliation Day at the school, which Syliboy said will be used to help bridge the gap between native and non-native students and faculty at the school.

The event will include ceremonies, an art show, and guest speakers talking about traditional events. The event is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Syliboy said everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the day.

Natural Resources and Environmental Technology students from NSCC Strait Area Campus and Wagmatcook Learning Centre fell trees to be used to construct a tipi to promote collaboration, peace and friendship.