Sudbury Catholic District School Board

Sweet Partnership: Holy Trinity Students Tap into Maple Syrup Making with Great Lakes Cultural Camp

A Day in the Anishinaabe Sugar Bush Camp

On April 9th, students from Holy Trinity School were in for an exciting day of hands-on learning exploring the tradition of maple syrup making. Led by experts from the Great Lakes Cultural Camp, students embarked on a journey to uncover the secrets of making Maple Syrup in an Anishinaabe Sugar Bush Camp. 

This engaging activity was coordinated by the school’s Indigenous Support Worker, Stacey Dell. Students from Grades 1-2 classes and kindergarten eagerly participated, making it a truly enriching experience.

Holy Trinity Students & Great Lakes Cultural Camp

Activity Highlights:

  1. Identifying Maple Trees: The students learned how to spot the Ninaatig, or Maple Tree, which is crucial for Maple Syrup production.
  2. Tapping and Gathering Sap: They participated in learning how to properly tap Maple Trees and safely collect the precious Maple Tree Water, or Ninaatigwaaboo.
  3. Boiling Down the Sap: With eager anticipation, students witnessed the transformation of the Maple Tree Water into rich Maple Syrup through the boiling process.
  4. Crafting Maple Sugar: Under the guidance of Noodin and Miisheen, the students learned the art of making Ziisbaakwad, or Sugar, from Maple Syrup.
  5. Sweet Rewards: Finally, they indulged in the fruits of their labour, tasting the sweet and savoury Maple Sugar they had helped create.

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board would like to thank Great Lakes Cultural Camp, including Maheengun, Small Cooks, Miisheen, and Noodin, for their invaluable teachings and for helping to organize this enriching experience for students. These experiences are essential in supporting students in fostering cultural understanding and appreciation. Chi miigwech to all who made this memorable day possible. 

Making Maple Syrup

St. Benedict’s Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation Shines Through Student Initiatives

Since 2021, St. Benedict has made a commitment to be a legacy school with the Downie Wenjack Fund which honours a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

This year, students in Ms. Dowdall’s Indigenous Studies classes took part in the Truth and Reconciliation Relay hosted by Greater Sudbury Police Service. Additionally, students participated in a fence art project where they created a large mural stating, “Every Child Matters”. Students were able to participate in both events. Their ReconciliACTIONS were complimented with learning about the Residential School System and why they were taking part in the actions. The Honourable Murray Sinclair said, “Education is what got us into this mess, education will get us out.”

For more information on becoming a legacy school visit

St. Charles School Students Make Bannock to Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day

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. 

Staff and Students Bear Witness To Jordan’s Principle

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 School Collaborates on a Mural with Artist Jessica Somers

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!

Local Indigenous Artist Visits St. Anne School

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.

Treaties Recognition Week 2022

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

St.Benedict Participates in Reconcili-Action Activities

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

Remembering the Children: Sudbury Catholic Schools Honours Truth and Reconciliation Week

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:

Further information about the Board’s plan for Truth and Reconciliation can be found at the following link:

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