Welcome Harmony Nadjiwon - Indigenous Storyteller in Residence
Centennial College has been making great strides in ensuring Indigenous voices are heard and implemented. Part of this initiative can be seen directly at the Story Arts Centre. This fall, Harmony Nadjiwon was welcomed to campus as the first Indigenous storyteller in residence. Harmony has been doing amazing work on campus to help faculty and students acknowledge and learn about Indigenous history and practices, as well as how to incorporate key messages from Indigenous culture within course work. Nate Horowitz, Dean of the Story Arts Centre, who initiated this, says “it’s important for students and faculty to see things differently than from a Eurocentric perspective” and therefore Harmony’s job is to advise students and faculty in different programs and “give her perspective about what to adjust in order to take into account Indigenous perspectives.”
So far, Harmony has met with fourteen professors who are eager to have her in their classrooms. Within the Broadcasting program, Harmony has discussed important themes such as having a heart connection to one’s work in order to have the biggest impact, and why there is a power in telling your own story. Within the Interactive Media program, Harmony has touched on many aspects of Indigenous histories, such as residential schools and the spiritual practice of the medicine wheel, amongst many other important subjects. Harmony will also meet with Fine Art students to discuss storytelling through artwork and the importance of having a story behind the work that is created. It is important to point out that discussing Indigenous culture and ceremonies at an institution was previously illegal up until approximately thirty years ago, which is why Harmony’s work plays such an integral role here on campus.
Harmony hopes her time at the Story Arts Centre can help to spread more awareness on Indigenous issues and highlight the important aspects that support truth and reconciliation. She believes that “every student has a story and they are all important.” Harmony teaches the General Education course “GNED: Stories of First People: Current Issues” and recommends this free e-textbook that Centennial has put together- Our Stories: First Peoples in Canada. The textbook is a great resource regarding Indigenous histories, cultures, and provides many interactive tools for further learning.
Centennial College is proud to be a part of a rich history of education in this province and in this city. We acknowledge that we are on the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and pay tribute to their legacy and the legacy of all First Peoples of Canada, as we strengthen ties with the communities we serve and build the future through learning and through our graduates. Today the traditional meeting place of Toronto is still home to many Indigenous People from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the communities that have grown in the treaty lands of the Mississaugas. We acknowledge that we are all treaty people and accept our responsibility to honour all our relations.
By Alexandra Few, Communications - Professional Writing Student