Turtle Island Walk Recognizes First Nations History Of UWindsor Land
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The University of Windsor officially opened Turtle Island Walk in recognition of the First Nations history of the land that the University of Windsor sits on.
Turtle Island Walk was originally part of Sunset Avenue. The portion between University Avenue and Wyandotte Street was closed to vehicular traffic with the goal of transforming the street and nearby areas into a lively, public space that connects points of arrival, cross-campus pedestrian routes and recreational activity.
Many different First Nations groups have lived in the area, although it is the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy – the alliance of the Anishinaabe people that includes the three nations of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi.
The Turtle is also a significant part of Indigenous cultures. Many refer to North America as Turtle Island, and the Turtle plays a role in the Seven Teachings of the Ancestors – Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility and Truth.
The Seven Teachings of the Ancestors are also the universal values that guide the Anishinaabe in their daily living, their interactions with other people and with the natural environment.
The Teachings are displayed along Turtle Island Walk along with a series of plaques.
The art featured on the banners that anchor the six prominent seating areas along Turtle Island Walk is the work of First Nations artist Teresa Altiman who grew up on Walpole Island and draws inspiration from both the landscape and her indigenous heritage.
The banners are portions of a wall hanging that was commissioned by Parks Canada and is on display in the Visitors’ Centre at Point Pelee National Park.
“Turtle Island Walk is a celebration of First Nations people and cultures, and a landmark to their history and their future in our region”, said Alan Wildeman, President and Vice-Chancellor. “The Seven Teachings guide the ancestral inhabitants of this land, and they resonate with the aspirations of a university. I thank everyone who helped make Turtle Island Walk a reality.”