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Peggy Pitawanakwat showing off new scarf
Peggy Pitawanakwat, Co-ordinator, First Peoples@Seneca, shows off the new scarf she helped design for Flight Services students. The scarf, which carries a motif representing Indigenous teachings, is part of a new uniform students will be wearing.

Oct. 31, 2019

A new uniform is ready to take wing at Seneca’s Flight Services programs, its pièce de résistance a stunning scarf that carries with it the sacred teachings of the Anishinaabe People.

Seven feathers, their black tips strong and ready for flight, are spread out over a ruby-red piece of silk. The feathers represent the seven sacred teachings of the Anishinaabe — love, respect, honesty, bravery, humility, truth and wisdom — woven into the scarf’s fabric for the students to carry with them on their life journey.

“The teachings remind us to strive and maintain balance mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually,” said Peggy Pitawanakwat, Co-ordinator, First Peoples@Seneca, and contributor to the design of the scarf.

The scarf will be worn by students in the Flight Services certificate program and the Flight Services: Operations & Cabin Management diploma program. Every stroke of ink on the scarf’s motif is dipped in symbolism.

“The bodies of the feathers are transparent; this shows that the journey towards success is clear,” Pitawanakwat explained. “The tips of the feathers spread outward and are solid; that indicates our students are ready to transition from our program to their career with a solid focus.”

The colours of the scarf — black, red and white, along with the yellow of the flight pin — are equally symbolic as they represent the First Nations medicine wheel and signify the four directions and the four elements. They are also referenced in the wheel’s teachings as mind, heart, body and soul.

“Red represents the body, as also water and the west; black represents the heart, earth and the south; white represents the mind, air and the north; and yellow represents the soul, fire and the east,” Pitawanakwat said.

Not only will the scarf spread awareness of Indigenous culture and teachings, it will also help Indigenous students and employees connect better with Seneca.

“When they see the symbols in that image, they will see themselves reflected in the institution,” Pitawanakwat said.

The scarf will complement the new uniform, which is classic, modern, stylish and especially designed to appeal to all ages with an eye on fashion, said Angela Zigras, Chair, School of Hospitality & Tourism.

“It’s the first time that we worked with ​Toronto-based designer Laura Di Marcello for our uniform and the results are incredible,” she said. “A year ago, we engaged a faculty design team with representation from several Canadian airlines and they brought the best to the table. The new uniform has been designed in a way that would appeal to incoming students focused on a career in the airline industry. It is gorgeous.”