Special Indigenous regalia becomes a part of convocation at Porter Creek, U of T, Lakehead

During this year’s graduation season, some schools’ convocation ceremonies will feature special regalia created by Indigenous students, alumni, and/or community members. At Porter Creek Secondary School in Whitehorse, some Indigenous students will cross the stage for their high school graduation wearing special regalia that they designed. The Northern Cultural Expressions Society’s regalia program gives graduates the opportunity to design and create their own graduation regalia; during the program, students learn about their culture and family histories as they learn how to use sewing machines and work with leather and beads. “[When I tried the vest on] I was like a completely different person,” said graduating student Shane Clennett, who created moccasins and a vest that features seals and huskies. “I look like a completely different person, connected to my Inuit history instead of just the city life.” The University of Toronto and Lakehead University have also introduced new convocation regalia. At U of T, the Eagle Feather Bearer will now wear a beaded stole created by artist Katie Longboat from Six Nations of the Grand River. At Lakehead, President Dr Gillian Siddall will wear special convocation regalia that consists of a robe, hat, and two sashes. The regalia was designed by Beverli Barnes, Melissa Benson of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, and Daanis Pelletier of Fort William First Nation.

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