The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) officially opened the doors to its new building last week and we were honoured to have some of our educational partners from Treaty #3 Territory in Northwestern Ontario join us for the occasion.
Elder Nancy Jones and Jason Jones of Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, Elder Mike Kabatay and Tracy Kabatay of Seine River First Nation, along with Rainy River District School Board Director Heather Campbell and Crossroads Public School vice-principal Sharla MacKinnon spent the day with JICS students to open the new building in a Good Way.
Elder Nancy Jones and Elder Mike Kabatay invited all the students to participate in a ceremony with offerings of sacred items – wild rice (actually grown in Treaty #3 Territory!), berries, tobacco and water. These sacred items were placed in birch bark baskets and now sit at the four corners of the building – this will be a tradition JICS will take on each spring. The morning ceremony concluded with a pipe ceremony in front of 45 Walmer Road.
The Robertson Program is honoured that Nancy, Mike, Jason, Tracy, Heather and Sharla travelled from Treaty #3 territory/Fort Frances, Ontario to be with us. Their presence at the official opening of this amazing new building recognizes the deep partnership between our communities as we continue to learn from each other.
In the afternoon, all the Lab School students, many parents, JICS teaching faculty (past and present), alumni families and friends of JICS gathered in the new auditorium. Elder Nancy Jones welcomed guests, thanked Elder Mike Kabatay for his ceremonial contribution, and provided an eloquent address for the opening protocol.
Words of thanks were said by OISE Dean, Glen Jones; U of T President, Meric Gertler; Chair of Governing Council, Claire Kennedy; Chancellor Michael Wilson; JICS Director, Clare Kosnik and Lab School Principal Richard Messina. Dr. Eric Jackman expressed his pleasure with the new building and the important work of our tripartite institute. The official ribbon cutting took place and the ceremony ended with two beautiful musical performances sung by the JICS children.