Conestoga’s Be-Dah-Bin Gamik has moved to a new space at the Doon campus to enhance services offered to the college community.
Now located in 2A601, Be-Dah-Bin Gamik, a Place of New Beginning, provides services for Indigenous students by assisting with a smooth transition to college life and providing ongoing support, which includes social and cultural events and activities, counselling, and Elders-in-Residence programs.
“The most important aspect of the new space for us is that we now have direct access to land,” said Christina Restoule, Be-Dah-Bin Gamik manager. “It will greatly enhance the traditional and holistic services and programs we offer.”
The new location grants easy access to the outdoor space located by the southeast corner of the A Wing, often used by Be-Dah-Bin Gamik as part of programming that includes a traditional tipi raising and full moon ceremonies. According to Restoule, a plan to establish a sacred garden nearby in partnership with Andrew Judge, coordinator of Indigenous studies at the college, is also in place.
In addition to land access, the new space provides more room to accommodate the college community accessing services and programs. “We have a full calendar in the fall and winter semesters,” said Restoule. “We now have the space to accommodate more of the community joining us for activities like our Wednesday lunches, as well as the space to build capacity for services like our food bank.”
Regular activities throughout the fall and winter semesters include visiting elders, open craft time and Monday movies. Be-Dah-Bin Gamik also hosts major events throughout the academic year such as the Indigenous Music Fest, Indigenous Student Welcome Night and Conestoga’s Annual Traditional Pow Wow.
“We had some students pop in to say hi while we were setting up,” Restoule continued. “They’re just as excited and eager about the new space as we are.”
In addition to the new location at Doon, Be-Dah-Bin Gamik will expand to the college’s John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo. Renovations and set up are currently taking place with a grand opening planned for the fall.