The smell of sweet grass was fresh Tuesday as the newly minted Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Centre was blessed ahead of its opening in the new year.
The 20,000 square foot centre at the Universty of Saskatchewan will be the new home of the Aboriginal Students’ Centre and Aboriginal student leadership groups, with additional spaces for cultural gatherings, study and meetings.
Graeme Joseph, coordinator of First Nations, Metis and Inuit student success at the university said when the centre opens next month it will be an inclusive. intercultural gathering place for the entire campus.
The soon to be opened building is rich in cultural details. The ceiling decorated as a medicine wheel covers the main gathering area, while beneath the floor is a dirt filled cylinder allowing those participating in traditional pipe and smudging ceremonies to be close to the earth.
The centre was designed by renowned Metis architect Douglas Cardinal at a cost of $17-million dollars. Four million of which came from private donors.
The centre will be open to students on Jan.4.