Thursday, February 25, 2016

Upcoming Powwows

I have come across some flyers for upcoming Powwows. I hope to be able to make it out to a few of these myself.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Chinese New Year

We took part in a flash mob on Parliament Hill in Ottawa ON to celebrate Chinese New Year a couple of weeks ago.  The whole thing went by so fast and there were so many people participating.  I didn't get to take as many photos as I would have liked but here a couple that I was able to get.

This is CJ, he was a part of our dance number along with a fantastic crew of hip hop dancers. 

Derek just can't help himself.  If there are dragons he must go meet them.

Ava handled the cold like a champ.  Derek and I on the other hand both really really cold feet.

This crew of singers were so friendly.  We spent most of our time chatting with them.  Their energy was infectious, lots of smiles and laughter.

I found an electric baseboard heater in the washroom and took full advantage of it.  The weather wasn't all that cold but it snowed and then the concrete area we danced on became super wet.  Our moccasins are made for the summer and even with heavy duty insoles and double socks we still got wet.  That heater was a life saver.  

Here is the finished product...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Revenant

I finally saw the Revenant the other day.  I have been looking forward to this movie for a while as the hype in Native communities has been strong.  It has been alllll over my social media for weeks.  Even though the story is not a Native story about Native people, the way Natives were depicted made me quite happy.  

One thing I really enjoyed was that this movie clearly displayed the differences in the world views of Native and Non-native peoples.  This could have easily portrayed Natives as evil for pursuing and killing the settlers.  Ta-da! the perfect villain.  It didn't go that route.  

This movie was able to really show the motivation of the Native people which was family and the return of a loved one. As well as the motivation of the settlers which was money or property.  Maybe that money or property was meant to take care of their families but that is something we will never know. That was not explored.  To me that created a perfect villain as all we saw was the beginnings of capitalism here on Turtle Island.  

Even the bear had a clear motivation for doing what she did.  Again, family.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Grade 3 First Nations Class Project from a HCDSB school

We have the opportunity to visit lots of schools and classrooms all across Ontario and we have been able to talk with Teachers about what they do when it comes time to teach units on First Nations people.  We met Mrs. Long at St. Anthony of Padua in HCDSB who we felt is doing a great job.  She and her students turned their Grade 3 portable into a longhouse.  They let us visit it and I had to share it with you because they did a fantastic job.

This sign was hanging as soon as you entered the portable.  I really liked how the students drew the parallel between addresses in modern times and the clan symbol on a longhouse.  

There were fire pits all down the length of the room.

They even had smoke holes above the fire pits.  the blue represented the sky and the crinkled paper was the smoke rising.  They also had corn strung and dying throughout the longhouse.

They had storage baskets made and cloth to represent animal hides. They did a great job on the baskets.  To this day basket making is a highly prized skill.  I loved that they picked out this detail to add to their display.  

One girl showed me the corn pounder she had made.  What is this called?  A Mortar and Pestle is that right? Corn pounder to me.  lol. Corn is such a staple to our diet, having this included was great.  I believe they had a large trough on display that we would use to cook in but I got distracted and didn't get a picture of that.  

Another girl showed me her model garden with the three sisters (corn, beans and squash).  I love that this is included but I would have liked it if they were growing all together as they would have been.  The corn stalk providing a spine for the beans (which provide nitrogen) to grow on and the squash providing ground cover and protection from animals with its spiny vines.  

A group of students worked on clothing and made these super cute snow shoes.   They also made bags and dresses.  

I was happy to see some lacrosse sticks were made.  I find when we go into schools the questions always seem to be about who our enemies were and about fighting so I was thrilled to see this project focus on daily life.  Including lacrosse is a great way to start a discussion on how disputes were settled.  

The model longhouses were cute.  The students also made models of other types of homes for comparison such as wigwams.  The fact the students were aware that not all native people are the same and that we have vastly different lifestyles as represented by our homes was great.  

Great job Minions!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

St. Agnes School

Us with Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky and FNMI support teacher Ms. Webster

Derek and I were fortunate enough to spend the week at St. Agnes school in Waterloo through the Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Artists in Schools program.  

We used that week to share some First Nations music and dance with the students.  

Nia:wen St Agnes for your participation, your eagerness to learn, your enthusiasm and your giving spirit.

Unrelated to our visit but a nice tie in is that it is random acts of kindness day.  The school has been running a food drive and today was a celebration of the food drive and the end of our visit.  TGIF everyone.  I hope you did something nice for someone else today.