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MHC people and places honoured at Indigenous Naming Ceremony

Indigenous Naming Ceremony at MHC
September 23, 2022

Stories were shared, songs were sung and honours bestowed at the Indigenous Naming Ceremony held yesterday at Medicine Hat College (MHC). This ceremony celebrates traditional lands, culture, and knowledge in the spirit of reconciliation and is an important moment in MHC history and its journey forward through Two-Eyed Seeing.

Beginning with a traditional feast, the ceremony took place within the college’s new Indigenous gathering space at the heart of the new health, wellness and athletics expansion.

The Elders first acknowledged the work of Jennifer Kerslake, director of community engagement, and her commitment to reconciliation, along with the leadership of MHC President, Kevin Shufflebotham. Kerslake was presented with the name Bobcat Woman or Ómahkatàyaakìì, signifying the hard work that helped make both the gathering space and the ability to host a naming ceremony in the space a reality.  

“The tenacity of our students and employees who strive for reconciliation on this campus every single day makes me extraordinarily proud to be part of this community,” said Kerslake in response to the honour received.

Elder Jim Langston told the story of the eagle feather, which signifies "the mark of a sophisticated culture and system that dates back eons” and the guardians of that knowledge. He then spoke about the gathering space, the land it sits on and interconnectedness of everything below.

The space was then formally gifted the name Ómahksípiitaa or Big Eagle by Dan Fox, a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy and an alumnus of MHC.

“Today is a celebration of our way of life…without our Elders we would not have this. I am always grateful to our Elders because they have passed that on to us,” says Elder Weasel Child, emcee for the ceremony.

To view the full ceremony, please click this link: