Led by Indigenous Support worker Sandra Migwans, Grade 2/3 French Immersion students at St. Charles Chelmsford had the opportunity to make Fry Bread (Bannock) in celebration of National Indigenous Day. Students learned about the history Bannock, incorporated some Ojibwa language and learned about the process of baking. Students enjoyed the Bannock with strawberry jam; which symbolizes the connection between mind, body and spirit.
On Wednesday, May 10th, staff and students honoured the memory of Jordan River Anderson and took the time to Bear Witness. Bear Witness Day serves as a reminder – and a day for us all to “bear witness” that First Nations children receive the services and supports they need, when they need them. Below are a few examples of activities that took place in our schools:
Holy Trinity Students brought in their favourite stuffed animals and learned about the importance of Bear Witness Day.
Kindergarten students at St. Anne School brought their teddy bears outside for Teddy Bear Picnic.
LSC203 staff and students at St. Benedict C.S.S learned about Jordan while having a tea party. Afterwards they coloured teddy bears in his honour.
St. James students have a unique opportunity to work with Jessica Somers, a visual artist with Focal Point Artistry, and collaborate on a mural. The opportunity is made possible by a grant provided by Ontario Arts Council – Michelle Thiessen completed the proposal with the project in mind. Students will be able to feel inspired, creative and innovative as they work alongside Jessica to create a hand-made mural representative of the Indigenous teachings and land.
To kick off this partnership, the school welcomed Elders Nokomis Julie and Mishomis Frank who guided students about the importance of Indigenous teachings and how the land in which we live on contributes to these teachings. Students spoke about things such as bears, trees, water and fish. Jessica then allowed students to take their first steps and encouraged them to draw what they were inspired by. Students eagerly leaped into action, using pencils, markers and colouring crayons to convey their thoughts, emotions and inspirations.
“I like to draw because it is very calming and you can use your imagination to create whatever you want,” said Michael, Grade 3 student.
“It was very cool to hear from Nokomis Julie and Mishomis Frank about the land and the different things that make up Indigenous teachings. I like that we are working with a real artist too, it makes us feel special!” said Mia, Grade 2 student.
Classes will work with Jessica and collaborate on the mural throughout the month of February. Stay tuned to see this work of art come to life!
Jessica Somers, Indigenous visual artist from Focal Point Artistry facilitated a full day of learning about wampum belt with students in honour of Treaty Recognition Week. Along with the support from Ms. Carissa, the Indigenous Support Worker, students had the opportunity to learn about the history and significance of the wampum belt and paint their own wampum stories on a canvas. Jessica ended the day by leading the students through a smudging ceremony and a closing drumming song.
At Sudbury Catholic Schools, we are called to strengthen our faith-based, inclusive, and equitable community. In preparation for Treaties Recognition Week – an annual commemoration which will be honoured on November 6-12th, 2022, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board community is participating in learning opportunities that teach and uphold the importance of treaty rights and relationships to both indigenous and non indigenous communities.
What is Treaties Recognition Week?
In 2016, Ontario passed legislation declaring the first week of November as Treaties Recognition Week. This annual event honours the importance of treaties and helps students and residents of Ontario learn more about treaty rights and relationships.
We look forward to honouring Treaties Recognition Week at Sudbury Catholic Schools every year, and 2022 is no exception. In Ontario, treaties are as much a part of today as when they were first created. They are living documents and legally binding agreements that set out the rights, responsibilities and relationships of First Nations and the federal and provincial governments. Furthermore, we also acknowledge that Indigenous Nations had Treaty Agreements with one another before Europeans arrived, and that treaty-making itself, precedes North American settlement.
Whether Indigenous or not, treaties matter to everyone in Canada; we are all Treaty People. They represent a mutual commitment to building a prosperous future for everybody and Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities are responsible for knowing and upholding Treaty obligations. In between the personal activities being planned by our schools, we’re pleased to share that Sudbury Catholic’s Indigenous Education team has curated resources and materials to help students, staff, and community members commemorate this important week. A summary of these resources is provided below.
Resources for 2022 Treaties Education Week
Robinson Huron Waasiidamaagewin – Virtual Presentations
It is our pleasure to share that the Robinson Huron Waasiidamaagewin is offering virtual presentations during Treaty Week. Their website contains event agendas that identify the variety of virtual presentations that will be offered throughout each day. To access these resources, visit the Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin Treaty Week resource page.
The Government of Ontario
In addition to online presentations, Sudbury Catholic Schools have been provided with a wide range of video resources suitable for different grade levels to provide students with an opportunity to hear from Indigenous Elders or knowledge keepers. In these activities, students will learn about treaties and their importance in an age-appropriate way that’s flexible for teachers’ lesson planning. This opportunity allows Indigenous speakers to share their knowledge about the importance of treaties, treaty relationships and rights in Ontario.
The Government of Ontario has also supplied a number of teaching resources that can expand upon this topic. This includes a Treaties in Ontario infographic (PDF), which shows the number of treaties in Ontario, the regions they cover and the populations within treaty areas.
Videos: Indigenous Voices on Treaties
Treaties in Ontario Infographic
Treaty Teaching & Learning Resources
Chanie Wenjack died at 12 years old while trying to flee the Residential School he attended in Kenora, Ontario on October 22, 1966. He was trying to make it more than 600kms home.
On Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 the St. Benedict Bears participated in the Walk For Wenjack as part of their commitment as a Legacy School with the Downie Wenjack Fund. St. Benedict CSS became a Legacy School is 2021. The school’s inaugural Walk For Wenjack was blessed having Chanie Wenjack’s niece and DWF Board Member Harriet Visitor join last year.
The St. Benedict Walk includes signage that teaches the Students about the history of Residential Schools, about Chanie Wenjack’s story and shares about the Spanish Residential School where many First Nation People of the area attended, only about an hour drive west from the City of Greater Sudbury. The signage ends with a Challenge to #Do Something to take Reconcili-Action and to remind every Student that they are valued, are important and have a voice.
This year’s walk in 2022 was given a challenge to complete 600 kms, (1 Km per Student), that would have brought Chanie home. With two classes that had been studying the Secret Path, (the story that describes what happened to Chanie), St. Benedict completed their challenge on October 27th, 56 years to the day Chanie was laid to rest. The Secret Path music is also played during the walk, adding to the experience of telling Chanie’s story. Using clothing buttons, a count was kept of every kilometer placed into a jar.
Many Staff and Students assisted to make the event a success including Mr. Sipos and his class who assisted in the Fry Bread and Bologna fundraiser for the DWF. The Diversity Club assisted with giving out cedar tea, strawberry and offering smudge. Ms. Mardero’s class also created an Every Child Matters woven fence art piece.
Adding to the Reconcili-Actions, on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation or Orange Shirt Day, Mr. Labrosse’s St. Benedict Senior Boys Football team was playing a game and assisted in supporting with wearing orange arm bands and by displaying a large Every Child Matters banner behind their bench. Invited to toss the coin at the game that day, was Residential School Survivor Bernard Petahtegoose’s son Barry Petahtegoose. Barry and his Sons are avid football fans like their Dad/Grandpa Bernard (who attended the Spanish Residential School and passed away in 2020). You could feel the respect and energy of the day, the referees also supported wearing an orange band.
Also, on September 30th, classes of Ms. Briscoe and Ms. Mardero’s had opportunity to attend the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre. A thought-provoking play and artistic film, “Truth. Resiliency. Hope.” featuring Indigenous storytelling, music and dance was presented. The event was put on by the Indigenous Community Collective with many community partners. Many Students wore their Orange Shirts in support of learning the Truths that happened here in Canada about Residential Schools and those who attended and were left thinking about what the next era of Canada could look like if we keep doing the work, leaving a message of hope, if we do the work together.
Many thanks to all the Helpers, both Staff and Students alike that have been helping with these events, to make them happen, to prepare and support the Students in your classrooms before and after, for wearing Orange, for participating in the fundraiser, for offering to help. St. Benedict has truly shown their respect to the Survivors and to those who never made it home from those institutions. #EveryChildMatters #WalkForWenjack #reconciliACTION #LegacySchools #DoSomething
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board joined Boards across the province to recognize, learn about and commemorate the legacy of residential schools during the week of September 26-30, 2022.
Throughout our board, we are committed to supporting Indigenous voices, learning what we do not know, and implementing the Calls to Action. Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022 is a free national program provided by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and is open to all schools across Canada. This year, the theme of the week was ‘Remembering the Children’. Schools across the Board participated in the program throughout the week as they learned about the history of the residential school system and memorialized the children that were lost. Activities featured pre-recorded videos and live question-and-answer sessions.
In addition, students and staff were invited to attend the Truth, Resiliency and Hope event planned by the Indigenous Community Collective at Bell Park. The event commemorated survivors of Residential Schools and acknowledged their unwavering resiliency. The event began with a sunrise ceremony and opening remarks followed by a play entitled Debwewin (Truth) and a short video screening.
All Board students and staff were also invited and encouraged to wear Orange Shirts on September 30 in honour of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
In addition, schools also completed their own activities, events, and teachings throughout the week. Examples of school-based activities included:
- Grade 3 French Immersion class at St. James School participated in a collaborative art project to honour Orange Shirt Day.
- Kindergarten classes at Holy Trinity School welcomed Indigenous Support Workers into their classrooms to discuss the importance of Truth and Reconciliation and learn about the four sacred medicines.
- Marymount Academy students designed orange shirts to wear and honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
- St. Benedict C.S.S created a visual display that was made available to staff and students throughout the week. The display included information about Truth and Reconciliation, powerful stories and artwork contributed by students.
“As a system, we continue to find ways to honour and acknowledge Truth and Reconciliation and respond to the Calls of Action. We recognize that reconciliation is not something that can be achieved in one hour, one day, or one week. Rather, we focus on rebuilding relationships with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples and communities daily. The Board supports opportunities for our staff and students to come together in support of intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect,” said Joanne Bénard, Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board.
Please see the following video produced by the Board highlighting the various activities:
Further information about Truth and Reconciliation Week provided by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation can be found at the following link: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/
Further information about the Board’s plan for Truth and Reconciliation can be found at the following link: https://www.sudburycatholicschools.ca/indigenous-education/indigenous-education/
A New Summer Program Running from July 11-29th for Indigenous Youth at Sudbury Catholic Focuses on Building Traditional Knowledge in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
This summer, Indigenous students from Sudbury Catholic Schools will participate in an exciting program as they participate in a new Earth-Based Learning course. This course is a unique summer program involving an exciting partnership with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, Great Lakes Cultural Camps, Akinoomoshin Inc and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
The Board revealed the new program in the spring and were ecstatic to see the high level of interest. In only a matter of weeks, the program, which is the first of its kind for Sudbury Catholic District School Board, quickly filled up with eager participants.
Taking place in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, the course was offered for Indigenous students moving from grade 8 to grade 9 and grade 9 moving to grade 10. Students will attend the sacred grounds every Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for an educational experience that provides special opportunities to explore and strengthen Anishinaabe identity through cultural place-based learning, allowing students to earn a high school credit while learning from the land.
To help celebrate and honour the program’s official start last Monday, we provide a glimpse into the instructive, hands-on learning activities students have participated in during their first week!
WEEK 1 ACTIVITIES
Monday & Tuesday
On days 1 and 2 of the Earth-Based Learning Program, students helped to build the teaching lodge, harvest and clean sweet grass, and also enjoyed taking time to connect to the Earth. Students were also taught a brief account of the community’s story and the area they are learning. This fantastic lesson was presented by anishinaabemwid, Lorney Bob.
On day 3, Earth-Based Learning students took the water at Bell Park to complete their swim tests. All students completed their tests successfully and will be ready for the upcoming activities taking place over the next few weeks.
On day 4, students had fun learning about the sustainable harvesting of materials. Taking what they learned into practice, students then had the opportunity to make their own wiigwas basket. Wiigwaas is the anishinaabemowin word for birch bark, a textile traditionally used to make baskets, canoes, shelters, etc.
On day 5, students took advantage of the beautiful weather and set off on a hike to Pigeon Mountain. The group was accompanied by Lornie Bob and Papa Art Petahtegoose, who shared stories along the way, making for an even richer learning experience. On their trek, students visited the spring water, spent time reflecting, and enjoyed lunch as they admired the breathtaking natural scenery. It was a great trip and the perfect end to the program’s first week!
“Our goal is to help students build relationships with the land, the water and each other. We are ecstatic we can provide this meaningful opportunity as it supports earth-based learning and shares traditional knowledge and practices that each of these students will value and carry with them throughout their lives. We already see students’ developing connections and coming out of their shells. Chi miigwech to the community and all those supporting our young learners. We look forward to continuing to follow their journeys as they form meaningful bonds with their environment and discover and connect themselves to the Earth.” – Ginette Toivenen, Indigenous Education Lead for Sudbury Catholic District School Board
The course is designed to spark curiosity and create awareness of stewardship initiatives in the Great Lakes, Anishinaabe Food Systems, practices and kendaasowin (learning) on the land. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the social, cultural, economic, and political developments of First Nations, Metis and Inuit individuals and communities. The learning will include history from precontact to the present day through a hands-on approach to learning. This will be a land-based opportunity that will encourage fun and laughter throughout the learning.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board aspires that this program will help students form greater connections to the land while nurturing spirituality and values in an environment where they can share traditional knowledge. We look forward to seeing this program in action over the following weeks and wish our students the best of luck and fun in their learning!
To see what other activities are happening, check out our SCDSB Indigenous Education Facebook page!