A garden with plants sacred to Aboriginal people has been created at Douglas College’s New Westminster Campus to promote cultural awareness and learning.The 10 metre by 2 metre raised bed is framed in cedar wood and is located on the fourth floor of the New Westminster Campus, outside of the Aboriginal Gathering Place, a venue for traditional Aboriginal ceremonies, meetings and study that was built in 2011.“We wanted the garden to go hand in hand with the Aboriginal Gathering Place, and we wanted to create a garden that would provide medicinal value as well as enhance the spiritual essence of the space,” says Dave Seaweed, Aboriginal Student Services Coordinator.
The garden was brought to life through a grant from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Architek, an architectural firm that specializes in living buildings. The project broke ground in the fall, and seedlings were planted in April.
The plants, including tobacco, sweetgrass and sage, hold medicinal and spiritual meaning in Aboriginal culture. The tobacco will be gifted to Elders, and the other plants will be used for smudging, a practice where sacred plants are burned to purify a room.
Seaweed says the garden will be used for harvesting workshops as well as learning opportunities.
“Knowledge grows through ceremonies and events – and attendees will share their knowledge with others,” he says.
Douglas College is the largest degree-granting college in B.C., combining the academic foundations of a university and the employer-ready skills of a college to provide the most relevant and inspiring undergraduate experience in British Columbia.
For more information, visit douglascollege.ca
Sucheta SinghCommunications Coordinatorsinghs95@douglascollege.ca 604 527 5806