Call it East meets West. Or perhaps call it a collision of two cultures to with a wonderful result. At any event, reconciliation is taking flight at UNBC.
It’s taking flight with 1,000 origami ravens.
In partnership with UNBC’s First Nations Centre, the university’s goal is to make 1,000 origami ravens this year to symbolize a University-wide wish for reconciliation.
“We, at the First Nations Centre wanted to come up with something that was meaningful for everyone,” said Bev Best, UNBC manager of aboriginal student engagement.
They came upon an old Japanese legend of 1,000 cranes. The legend goes if you make 1,000 cranes you get a wish at the end of making of those cranes.
“So we thought, what is our one wish, especially in the First Nations Centre,” she said. “That is a wish for reconciliation.”
The raven is an important symbol of First Nations culture. It is considered a symbol of change or transformation, and sometimes the raven is considered a trickster because of its ability to change and transform.
“The raven, for selfish reasons, lived in a dark world and wanted light so he stole the sun to bring light to a dark world,” she said. “And isn’t that what we’re doing? When we look at reconciliation, the truth is a very dark world that once was. Now, we’re trying to shed light on that truth.”
Students and staff will work towards creating the 1,000 origami ravens throughout the year. And while the creations look simple, they are not that easy to make.
“And that’s the point,” said Best. “Reconciliation is not easy, it’s not going to be easy. If we work together we can make it happen and the end result will be beautiful.”
Students, faculty and staff will have ample opportunity to make the ravens throughout the year every week in the Gathering Place. Once created, they will be displayed prominently at the university, celebrating those who have made personal and professional commitments to Reconciliation.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our university community to engage in a meaningful hands-on activity that we hope will spark dialogue around the challenging topics addressed in the Truth and Reconciliation report,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “This is another step the University is taking towards reconciliation including campus Indigenization projects and engaging dialogue with local and regional communities.”