Windsor

Turtle Island Walk at University of Windsor recognizes First Nations

The path is decorated with artwork by Teresa Altiman, who created seven banners with the seven teachings from Indigenous ancestors that are spread out throughout the area on plaques.

University wants walkway to be a significant landmark for First Nations people

Turtle Island Walk is decorated with artwork by Teresa Altiman, who created seven banners with the seven teachings from Indigenous ancestors that are spread throughout the area on plaques. (Melissa Nakhavoly)

Students walking through the University of Windsor will now be surrounded by a celebration of Indigenous culture.

The school officially unveiled Turtle Island Walk Thrusday, in recognition of Canada's First Nations.

The path is decorated with artwork by Teresa Altiman, who created seven banners with the seven teachings from Indigenous ancestors that are spread throughout the area on plaques.

"I was so pleased to see my work here," she said. "Never did I ever think as a young girl that my work would be here at the University of Windsor."

The banners are part of a larger textile piece Altiman created for Parks Canada that is currently on display at Point Pelee National Park.

The artist said she's hopeful students will learn from the art installations.

"I would hope that the people and the students walking along Turtle Island Walk will realize that they are walking on land that belong to First Nationa people of Turtle Island," she said.

The name of the walkway is significant because it links to the turtle, an important symbol in Canadian Indigenous cultures — North America is often referred to as Turtle Island in First Nations storytelling.

"There are several versions and several other groups in this area have similar stories which is interesting," explained Russell Nahdee, aboriginal education coordinator for the school. "That tells me these stories go a long ways back."

The path is located on Sunset Avenue between Wyandotte Street and University Avenue and serves as a pedestrian walkway.

Univeristy of Windsor President Alan Wildeman said he wants Turtle Island Walk to be a significant landmark for First Nations people.

"As a public institution we had an opportunity to do something really significant and make a big statement about it," he said. "We worked with our First Nation colleagues and friends to make sure we had it done right in a way that worked for them."