The Dance of Wiindigo and Nanaboozhou was an Ontario Government Ministry of the Attorney General funded proposal to gather elders’ insites in response to hate crimes. A workshop was held at Sir John A MacDonald High School addressing ‘two-spirit’ youth (LGBTQQ, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning) and the keynote speaker Jessica Yee. A book was compiled as a result.
“Indige Know” Series
The “Indige Know” series at Parkview Secondary School was designed for Nyaweh student literacy level. IndigeKnow information sheets were distributed throughout the year to students and teachers at their request. These handouts covered a variety of subjects and were designed for Aboriginal cultural specific content – language, medicine plants, self esteem, history and general themes. Wherever possible, information sheets were designed to complement or amplify course content. GIKINAWAABI = learning by observation.
Mother Earth Water Walk at Crawford Lake
Water is precious and sacred… it is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist. The Métis Women’s Circle, the Hamilton Native Women’s Centre and Crawford Lake Conservation Area are working together to support the annual Mother Earth Water Walk. We invite you to join us in a local Waterwalk taking place at: Crawford Lake Conservation Area. The purpose of the Water Walk is to educate and to raise the wareness of an indigenous perspective on Women as the water keepers and their knowledge on how we can connect to and respect the waters of the earth. We welcome you to come and experience our perspective on living in harmony with our water and how to sustain our precious and vital life source.
Mentoring Our Youth
Mentoring Our Youth was a two year mentoring project at Sir John A. Macdonald High School which included a variety of activities.
Cree Culture Carrier at Sir John A. Macdonald High School
The Metis Women’s Circle was very proud to host Delvin Kanewiyakiho Kennedy from Oskayak School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to share one week with students at the high schools. Delvin holds a Masters of Education degree and is a traditional Cree teacher. From his thesis work, Delvin describes his understanding of Cree learning processes:
“I have learned that when Indigenous scholars discuss epistemology, they are talking about nêhiyaw [Cree] cosmology or world view. The sources both academic… and grassroots (knowledge keepers) indicate that within the nêhiyaw world view, all the knowledge points ultimately to the care and love and teaching of the nêhiyaw child… as that entity begins his earthly journey through life. After all, it is the life cycle and ways of knowing that continue in the child as that child grows spiritually and experientially… youth today need the mentorship and guidance that is given by compassionate and caring knowledge keepers who are kikêhtêyiminawak – our old people. It is the words and the teachings of knowledge keepers that show us the vision for a bright future for nêhiyaw youth.
Delvin lectured in several classes, drummed and sang, and imparted traditional knowledge to students. Teachers were very appreciative of his offerings in history, geography, Native arts, and philosophy classes (please see their responses attached). Students and teachers requested Delvin’s return to the school for further instruction in Aboriginal history, hoop dancing, and the importance of oral traditions and retention of indigenous languages.
Presentations by Elders and Knowledge Keepers
Anishaabe author and artist, Rene Meshake, visited both schools to present his latest work both in the Native Art classes and in English classes. Rene is a residential school survivor, a traditional storyteller, and a language teacher.
Pat Hess, Wolf Clan, Cayuga Nation, presented to Sir John A MacDonald and Parkview students on the photography of medicine plants, their uses, and traditional meanings. Pat’s training in mounting professional photo exhibits was shared with students in the Native Arts classes.
PowerPaths for Youth
Powerpaths was a year long mentoring project at Parkview High School which included a variety of activities.
Big Drum at Parkview High School
Materials and instruction were provided to instruct young male students in constructing a Big Drum for Parkview. Previous to this, students were forced to borrow a drum from Sir John A MacDonald High School. With their own drum, students will gain experience and reassurance in practicing their drumming and singing as a group. This activity was provided by culture carriers in a traditional manner. It served to raise self esteem of the young men in the Nyaweh program.
The Métis Women’s Circle commissioned a seamstress to custom design graduation stoles for Aboriginal students to wear upon completion of their education at both schools. Stoles are fabricated in the school colours and bear a variety of Aboriginal symbols like eagle feathers and animal totems.