Members of the Windsor Law community will participate in a dedication ceremony Monday, Oct. 25, to honour the spirits of the Indigenous People who were the original inhabitants of the territory on which the University of Windsor campus sits.
During the ceremony, Elders, Medicine People and Traditional Knowledge Keepers will be presented with the sacred medicine of tobacco. Tobacco is a traditional medicine used to promote physical, spiritual, emotional, and community well-being. It may be used as an offering to the Creator or to another person, place, or being. A gift of traditional tobacco is a sign of respect and may be offered when asking for help, guidance, or protection. On Monday, the Original Spirits and inhabitants of the land will be acknowledged, fêted, and honoured to move forward with the transformed law building in a respectful way.
Historically, treaties have been part of a wider array of interactions and agreements between Indigenous peoples and settlers, including land grants such as one of particular significance to the University between the Huron and the Jesuits. The land along the Detroit River was called Waawiiatanong (“Where the River Bends” in Anishinaabemowin) prior to contact. The land is the Third Stopping Ground of Anishnaabe, and the surrounding area is the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy, comprised of the Ojibwa, Odawa, and the Potawatomi. Many other Indigenous groups have called this area home over the years, including the Huron Wyandot and the Attawandaron peoples.
A digital copy of the Huron and the Jesuits Land Grant, representing the donation of land on which the University’s main campus sits, can be seen above along with an English translation. The Leddy Library’s Archives and Special Collections holds the original copy of the University land grant dating from 1780.
To learn more about the Transforming Windsor Law project, visit the Windsor Law website.