U of R honoured with Indigenous eagle staff
The sacred symbol was created by Elder Roy Bison and his son Teddy
A sacred Indigenous symbol was presented to the University of Regina on Monday.
The eagle staff was created by Elder Roy Bison and his son Teddy who is a student in the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance at the school.
"In our traditional societies when visitors approached an encampment or community the presence of the eagle staff meant that the visitors were coming in peace and respect," Roy Bison said in a press release.
"In this case, the eagle staff is a powerful symbol of the relationship with the Indigenous people of this territory."
This staff was given to the University of Regina to recognize the school for its supports and services for Indigenous students on Monday.
Teddy said the eagle staff contains stories, teachings and identity. He felt the University of Regina needed a staff to "recognize the perseverance of First Nations students who continue to come through these hallways to obtain their degrees and want to better their lives for themselves, families, and communties."
University president Vianne Timmons said it was a tremendous honour to receive the staff "which is traditionally reserved for a warrior or leader who has earned distinction through service to the community."
She says the university will try to live up to the honour of the eagle staff by working toward Indigenization and reconciliation.
"It recognizes our commitment and our obligation to our Indigenous students and we will honour this commitment," she said.
Elders, singers, drummers and community members were in attendance as the staff was presented and two Treaty 4 flags were installed in the Research and Innovation Centre.
The eagle staff will be kept in the office of Indigenization.
For the fall 2017 semester, 1,943 Indigenous students were registered for classes, accounting for 13 per cent of the student population.
Increasing Indigenous student access to the school is part of the university's 2015-2020 strategic plan.