Embracing Native Culture: A Journey of Graduation, Pride, and Blankets

Embracing Native Culture: A Journey of Graduation, Pride, and Blankets

Graduating from college is a milestone worth celebrating, but for many Indigenous students, it's more than just receiving a diploma; it's a culmination of resilience, identity, and cultural pride. As an Anishinaabeg, we understand the significance of honoring our history, especially in moments of achievement. We know how hard your Native students work, the barriers they jump over, and the sweetness of their victories.

Education has always been central to Indigenous communities, as young people have always learned from elders and family members.  Excelling and knowledge carrying has always been central to our way of life.

The boarding school era severed and created multiple generations of trauma around missing links to culture, family, and traditional learning.  We are still working to rebuild from this horrifying injustice done to our families. We are connecting back to our ways through language, ceremony, and learning. 

Graduation represents one of the ways we realize this vision, reflecting not only individual accomplishments but also collective triumph over adversity. Within Ojibwe culture, pride extends beyond personal achievement; it encompasses a deep connection to ancestral teachings, language, and traditions. Graduates carry the hopes and dreams of their community, serving as ambassadors of resilience and cultural revitalization.

By walking the stage adorned in regalia adorned with vibrant beadwork, customized stoles, and intricate designs, our community honors both traditional knowledge and inspires future generations to pursue their dreams and thrive. We adorn ourselves to not only celebrate who we are but as an act of resistance to assimilation. 

One of the most cherished traditions during graduation ceremonies is the gifting of blankets. In Ojibwe culture, blankets hold profound symbolism, representing warmth and protection. Each design telling a story of resilience and interconnectedness. When bestowed upon graduates, these blankets serve as tangible expressions of love and support from family, friends, and the community at large. Beyond their physical warmth, these blankets carry emotional significance, wrapping graduates in a cocoon of ancestral wisdom and cultural pride. They symbolize the journey of learning and growth, reminding individuals of their roots and the interconnectedness of all living beings.

As graduates embark on new chapters in their lives, these blankets serve as reminders of their identity, grounding them in times of uncertainty and guiding them with the wisdom of generations past. We are honored to be a part of these moments with you.


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