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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 4, 2016
Canadian Excellence



MSW Aboriginal Field of Study

New logo tells the story of the AFS program

Jun 26/13

When the copyright to the logo for the Aboriginal Field of Study (AFS) program recently came to an end, the team decided to use the opportunity to create a new symbol that better defines the vision and philosophy of the AFS program. "We saw this as the perfect time to reflect on what our program is really about and come up with a logo that means something to all of us," said Kathy Absolon-King, AFS coordinator and professor.

The AFS team sat together to come up with the symbols and values that best represented their unique program. "It was a really collaborative process. Everybody brought in different components that they felt were important to the work we do. We also tried to include universal elements that are common among Aboriginal nations, not just one or two nations," said Kathy, who went on to explain the meaning of each symbol represented in the new logo:

The circle represents holism and the sacred circle philosophy on which our program is based.

The four feathers at the bottom of the logo represent the four sacred directions, which start in the east because the sun rises in the east then moves south, west and north. The four feathers also represent the four components (intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical) in our holistic evaluation. The white dots in the feathers represent the spirit in the directions.

The mountains show that we have students in our program from coast to coast (B.C. mountains to Newfoundland mountains). Students travel great distances to arrive at our program.

We included the gold and purple in the circle and the water to represent Laurier’s colours.

The bear is a common Aboriginal symbol of traditional medicine and holistic healing, which are the foundations of our practice.

The person facing the bear represents those who are searching and seeking, such as our elders, students and ancestors. The person’s hair looks like a tree, which represents land and creation, which are at the centre of our beliefs.

The canoe is symbolic of the journey of teaching and learning that we’re all on. The journey can be rough at times. It can be challenging and the waters aren’t always calm but sometimes they are. It’s a journey of working to stay in balance so your canoe doesn’t tip. The people in the canoe are both male and female, adult and child, representing our communities that we’re doing this work for.

Kathy used these elements to develop some early drafts of the logo and then passed it on to Walpole Island First Nations artist Chris Riley, who designed the new logo. "We’re all really happy with what Chris created for us," said Kathy. "The logo tells the story of the AFS program – who we are, our philosophy and our heritage. It's something we'll be proud of for many years."

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