General Wolfe celebrates Indigenous cultureJune 22, 2022
Students and staff at General Wolfe School celebrated the culture and heritage of Canada’s Indigenous peoples with a special Indigenous Day.
The event took place on June 20, a day ahead of National Indigenous Peoples Day; students took part in a wide variety of workshops and activities throughout the day.
Events included: a half-day prairie walk to Omand’s Creek, where students looked at local flora and fauna; a West-End Mural walk; Bannock making; beading; outdoor Indigenous games; hoop dancing and more.
Principal Gwen McLean said while the school usually holds an assembly for National Indigenous Peoples Day, staff were inspired after attending professional development sessions with University of Manitoba Professor Niigaan Sinclair earlier this school year.
“We have a team of teachers who were attending these sessions, so we thought this year we would try something different for Indigenous Day,” Ms. McLean said. “We wanted to see how we could engrain curricular ideas into Indigenous education. Every department brainstormed with the students on how could connect Social Studies, Science and other subjects to Indigenous beliefs and culture.”
For example, one workshop highlighted the difficulty many First Nations have in accessing clean water, and explored the science behind water filtration. Another workshop had students exploring the mathematics behind star blanket designs.
“The staff and students came up with an amazing list of different activities for today,” Ms. McLean said.
Ms. McLean noted that sessions were led by both staff members and in some cases, students.
Student Madison Sinclair led a jingle-dress making workshop for the day.
“We’re making a red dress to honour the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls,” she said. “We decided to make a jingle dress because it represents healing. We’re sending healing prayers to families of the victims.”
Students hoped to hang the finished red dress in the library window to honour the lost women and girls.
Madison said she felt proud to share her culture with other General Wolfe students, who come from many different countries all over the world.
“I feel very honoured to share my culture. I used to be very shy talking about my culture, because it’s different from what you see in the media,” Madison said.
Elsewhere, on the General Wolfe school field, teachers such as Clare Burns led students through Indigenous outdoor games, such as fox tails.
“Fox tails is a game they used to play to actually hunt small prey, like rabbits and squirrels. They would attach a rock to a fox tail and were able to throw it at great distances and speed. We’ve made it into a sport—kids have been practising throwing them into hoops, and later we’ll be playing Ultimate with them.”
Students used weighted cloth in the place of actual fox tails for the activity.
Here’s a gallery of the day’s activities: