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Media Release: Indigenous Gathering Space Officially Opens For Mohawk College Students And Community Partners


Mohawk College celebrated the opening of the first Indigenous gathering space at any Ontario college or university on Tuesday, June 21. Located at Mohawk's Fennell Campus, the Hoop Dance will be used by students and community partners for outdoor classes, cultural presentations and traditional ceremonis. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was present at the opening.

HAMILTON, ON – The first outdoor Indigenous gathering space at any Ontario college or university officially opened today at Mohawk College.

Hoop Dance at Mohawk’s Fennell campus will be used by students and community partners for outdoor classes, cultural presentations and traditional ceremonies. The Hoop Dance can be reserved by emailing hoopdance@mohawkcollege.ca.

Work on the gathering space began last summer, with support from the Mohawk Students’ Association. Constructed of yellow Alaskan cedar pillars and steel hoops, Hoop Dance is surrounded by a traditional Three Sisters garden of corn, bean and squash.

Joining Mohawk College President Ron McKerlie to mark the official opening of the Hoop Dance were Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport the Hon. Eleanor McMahon, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Ted McMeekin, Six Nations Polytechnic President and CEO Rebecca Jamieson and Mohawk Students’ Association President Kyle Datzkiw.


“Mohawk College’s new Hoop Dance will be an important gathering place for students to learn and reflect. It will also be a living monument to the culture, traditions and knowledge of Ontario’s Indigenous communities.  It is a hopeful symbol of the province we are building together, a place of opportunity for everyone.”
Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne
“Mohawk College is committed to supporting Indigenous education and celebrating cultural traditions. Hoop Dance is one of the ways we are weaving Indigenous knowledge and culture into the fabric of our college. Together with the Mohawk Students’ Association, we’ve created a special place where students, staff and college partners can teach, learn, gather and share.”
Mohawk College President Ron McKerlie
“The Mohawk Students’ Association is proud to invest in the first Indigenous gathering space of its kind at an Ontario college or university.  We want all students to feel welcome and supported from the first moment they arrive on campus. Hoop Dance will do exactly that for Indigenous students.”
Mohawk Students’ Association President Kyle Datzkiw


  • Mohawk educates and serves 400 Indigenous students.
  • Mohawk’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Community and Urban Studies offers four diploma programs in partnership with Six Nations Polytechnic (Personal Support Worker, Practical Nursing, Registered Practical Nursing to BScN, and Police Foundations). Mohawk also offers three continuing education courses in support of Indigenous education (Ontario Metis, The 8th Fire: The Relationship Between Natives and Newcomers, and Diversity and First Nations). Mohawk will introduce a fourth continuing education course this winter – Bridging Two Worlds: Connecting with Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
  • Over the past 15 years, Mohawk has graduated the most Indigenous learners among the top 10 post-secondary institutions funded by the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office in Ohsweken.
  • Mohawk is a signatory institution to the Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes developed by Colleges and Institutes Canada.
  • Mohawk received funding from the Government of Ontario to build the region's first collaborative Indigenous Education Plan in partnership with Six Nations Polytechnic, the Metis Nation of Ontario, the Mississauga of the New Credit, Grand River Employment and Training, the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office, Sheridan College, McMaster University, the University of Guelph and Wilfred Laurier University.
  • The Government of Ontario has also funded a province-wide study by Mohawk of best practices by Indigenous Education Councils.

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Jay Robb, Mohawk College Director of Communications

About Mohawk

Mohawk College educates and serves more than 29,500 full-time, part-time, apprenticeship and international students at three main campuses in Hamilton, Ontario and learning hubs across Hamilton through City School by Mohawk, and at the College’s Centre for Aviation Technology at the Hamilton International Airport. Mohawk is among the top five colleges for applied research in Canada. It has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers seven years in a row, holds a GOLD STARS rating from AASHE for sustainability achievements and is home to the country’s largest and first institutional building to receive dual certification for Zero Carbon Building Framework design and performance for The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation. More than 135,000 people have graduated from Mohawk since it was founded.