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A New Tradition

Starting in 2022, the Indigenous Student Support Center (ISSC) celebrated Indigenous graduates in a special way.

Indigenous students of Classes 2020, 2021, and 2022 were recognized with the placement of a special stole across their shoulders to signify their great accomplishment of graduating. ISSC has the goal of creating a separate ceremony that will celebrate and highlight the achievement of Indigenous students and to bring together friends, family, staff and faculty members who have supported our students throughout their journey here at BU.

Balance and Relationships

The stole was created by the renowned Mohawk clothing designer, Tammy Beauvais, from Kahnawake. One of the greatest challenges when creating any new Indigenous logo or design is finding the appropriate balance between meaningful symbolism and representation of Nations, Peoples and relationships. With this in mind, our conversations with current student, Tahothoratie Cross, kanien’keha:ka from Kahnawake, in the Creative Arts teacher education program to explore his vision for creating a suitable design.

The end result is about relationship to and with the land for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students while at Bishop’s. The outer circle represents life and the people, the islands in the river fork and the life force of water, the prestigious pine trees around campus standing tall and full of pride and the deer that often visit and gently stride across the green spaces – these representing our other-than-human relatives and lastly the pottery design – as with all things Indigenous there is always a story and a logic. Globally, for millennia pottery designs have identified Peoples, Nations, Tribes, Clans and families.

We look forward to accompanying you through your journey here and joining you in celebrating your graduation.