New student centre name is welcoming

University of Regina student, Poetry-Rain Doehl and Ta-tawâw Student Centre manager Misty Longman pose in front of the new centre’s sign, located in the Research and Innovation Centre on the University of Regina campus. Photo by Mick Favel.

Two months after changing its name it is business as usual at the ta-tawâw Student Centre at the University of Regina’s Research and Innovation Centre (RIC).

The centre, formally known as the Aboriginal Student Centre (ASC) asked for the community’s help in finding a new name and officially changed its name on Nov. 28.

“Ta-tawâw” is pronounced, “tah-tah-wow.” Ta-tawâw is a Cree word which translates to “welcome.”

Ta-tawâw Student Centre is a convenient place for students to meet other students, a place to relax as well as a place to get school work done. Affordable printing is also available for students.

The ASC name change was largely affected by “Department of Aboriginal Affairs Canada’s” 2015 name change to “Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.”

“We knew our community was ready for it, we knew it was the time to do it,” said Misty Longman, ta-tawâw Student Centre manager. “All the same feelings we had about [the name change,] the community [has] reflected back.”

“The reaction has been lovely. We had a lot of people across the community who have reached out to say they love the name change.”

The new sign is silver and metallic, similar to the old sign, which was gold and metallic.

The process of the name change went through a number of channels in the university. Because of the thorough, step-by-step procedure, Longman says it went smoothly.

“Because the institution knew this was coming everyone was so much more prepared,” said Longman.  “We kind of slid into this name with a lot of ease that I did not anticipate.”

Along with a new name the centre has also gotten some new furniture which has changed the way the centre once looked.

“It’s very fitting furniture,” said Tannen Acoose. “It’s much more comfortable [than the past furniture.]”

“It’s almost as if you walked in thinking things would be different, but they’re the same,” said Longman. “We felt like we were a new space, but we’re still the same community.”

The Aboriginal Student Centre was shortened to “the ASC,” something that has not happened yet to ta-tawâw.

“Our community is trying to find a new way to identify us,” said Longman. “I have never been a fan of ‘TSC,’ so I have been referring us to as ‘the Student Centre.’ People have been calling us ‘the Wow Centre’ but we had some of our elders say we don’t want to shorten our language, so you should call it the ta-tawâw Centre.”

The ASC sign hung in the RIC for nearly eight years before it was changed. Longman has no plans for another name change for the centre.

Switching “Aboriginal” with “Indigenous” is something that was factored into the name change and the possibility that there might be another name change in the future.

“A lot of us are hoping that there isn’t another name change moving forward and that we won’t need to do [this] again,” said Longman. “It was a lot of work.”

Longman says that taking an identifying word like “Indigenous” out of the centre’s name now opens the space for a wider range of students.

“Students won’t interpret [the centre] as, ‘this is a space for Indigenous students,’ they’ll identify it as, ‘this is a space that has Indigenous worldviews intrinsically attached to it but it’s for all students.”

The annual schedule for the ta-tawâw centre has not changed as it plans its next community event in March.

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