SLC unveils new name of Indigenous Centres

SLC Indigenous Elder Helena Neveu sits by the Indigenous Rock Garden at SLC. She is holding a framed print of the new Indigenous Centre logo. SLC President and CEO Glenn Vollebregt sits behind her so they are socially distanced.

St. Lawrence College (SLC) has renamed and rebranded the Indigenous Student Centres on each campus in Kingston, Brockville, and Cornwall. Formerly known as the Eagle’s Nest Indigenous Centre, the new name is Waasaabiidaasamose (Whah-sah Bid–eh–so–may) Indigenous Centre.

The name is in honor of Indigenous Elder Helena Neveu, whose spirit name is Waasaa Biidaasamose Kwe, meaning Walks far Woman. As the Indigenous Elder at SLC since 2014, Helena promotes health and well-being by encouraging students to find balance in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their daily lives.

"Waasaabiidaasamose Kwe (translates to Going Far in a Blizzard) was given to me 25 years ago by a friend’s father, Dan Pine Jr.  I was attending college at the time, and I would walk the railroad tracks sometimes to get to the school and he said, 'you're going to make it, you’re Walks Far Woman,'" Helena said. "My name, Walks Far, means a lot to me and I’m really honored that it’s carrying on through students because it's education that has really help me to prosper."

The Waasaabiidaasamose Indigenous Centre is a welcoming space for Indigenous students to study, socialize, and participate in events and programming. The Centre also provides resources, computers, craft sessions and other cultural activities, and has on-site Indigenous Advisors. Each Centre also welcomes the broader campus community to visit and participate in events, to foster greater awareness and appreciation of Indigenous history and culture.

The new name includes an update to the Centres’ logo and branding. The logo presents the Indigenous Centre as a place of unity for all Indigenous cultures at SLC, said Shirley Chaisson, Indigenous Student Advisor.

"Our new tri-campus Indigenous Centre logo portrays images connected to Inuit, Métis, and First Nations Peoples, who have inhabited Turtle Island since time immemorial. Each image is symbolic of the Peoples themselves and are encircled by the representation of a drum, the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Drums are more than a musical instrument or communication tool; it symbolizes a lifelong connection with all living things and the Creator," Shirley explained.

The new logo and branding were created by SLC’s in-house graphic design team of Heidi Wallace Patenaude and Vincent Perez, who worked in close consultation with the College’s Indigenous Services team.

A formal unveiling ceremony for the new name and visual identity will take place this coming September. Work will begin shortly to update signage and materials on campus and more information, including dates of the unveiling will be shared in an upcoming newsletter and communications.

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