April 23, 2021

By BRADLEY ZORGDRAGER

It’d be strange to find a moose walking around Conestoga College.
But on April 4, you would have found students walking to a moose – to eat, that is.
Aboriginal Services served moose meat at their weekly Wednesday lunch, which, in addition to the many aboriginal students, was attended by Ray Tanguay, chairman of Toyota’s Canadian manufacturing unit, and Joe Miskokomon, chief of Chippewa of the Thames.
Over the lunch, the two visitors spoke about many topics, including a land claim that Miskokomon and Myeengun Henry, manager of Aboriginal Services, are a part of.
“A key word is the relationships,” said Tanguay of the situation. “It doesn’t matter what culture you’re from. If you’re just trying to have an agreement without a relationship, it’s virtually impossible.”
This was the focus of the lunch with the two visitors according to Myeengun.
“I’m never hoping for anything other than building a friendship; know who we are, we know who you are. You’re very strong and you affect a lot of people in the industry you work in; we do too as we’re trying to get our students to be able to do that.”
Tanguay thinks that having a cultural community such as Aboriginal Services is beneficial to the students.
“I think this is a very important step that you’re doing over here, for the people to feel comfortable within the college life and to feel that this is not a strange place; this is a place that you can learn and you can still respect your culture.”
However, Myeengun is finding it is getting more difficult to exercise the native traditions at Conestoga. Though the Aboriginal Services office was packed for the lunch, he said that it was only a fraction of the 500 students he estimates are a part of Aboriginal Services.
“We have to expand; this is just ridiculous.”
He also pointed out that space constraints weren’t the only problem they were facing; the drums and singing performed by aboriginals as part of their culture have caused some commotion. Although the aboriginals have tried taking their music outside to prevent noise complaints Myeengun said have come from neighbouring college departments, the complaints kept coming.