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The Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota Oyate

In Lakota ceremonies we pray for good health, happiness, help, and understanding.

Tim Poitras is from Muskowpetung First Nation and is the Sundance Chief of Woptura and the Tiospaye of Pine Ridge South Dakota. At the Regina Elders Gathering held in February 2020, Poitras shares his knowledge and experiences in order to create an awareness of good health, happiness, help, and understanding. In his presentation he discusses the people of the Seven Council Fires, the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota Oyate, and the Creation Story. The history and knowledge Poitras shares reminds us to honour those that have left us to the spirit world and respect the knowledge and traditions of our people.

At the Regina Elders Gathering held in February 2020, Tim Poitras, from Muskowpetung First Nation, shared about his role in his community and his understanding of Lakota ceremonies. Poitras provides an overview of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota Oyate including the following ceremonial rights:

  • Canupa: The Sacred Pipe Ceremony
  • Inipi: The Sweat Lodge;
  • Hanblecha: The Vision Quest
  • Wiwangwacipi: The Sun Dance;
  • Hunkapi: The Making of Relatives; The Keeping of The Soul;
  • Ishna Ta Awi Cha Lowan: Preparing a Girl for Womanhood and a Man for Manhood.

Dene Culture and the Catholic Church

Comparing and recognizing similarities between Dene beliefs and the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

Margaret Reynolds, a Dene woman from English River First Nation, shares about the differences in Dene beliefs compared to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, with an audience at the Prince Albert Elders Gathering in March 2020. Reynolds explains how the Catholic Church was domineering in the north and people have lived without their traditional culture for a long time. She understands that the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux in Saskatchewan all believe in the same way and these beliefs have parallels  beliefs of the Catholic Church. Thankfully though, a lot of Dene traditional ceremonies, songs, and drum are coming back after being suppressed for so long.

Dene Language Lesson

Margaret Reynolds shares a quick Dene language lesson focusing on the t-dialect.

Margaret Reynolds, a Dene woman from English River First Nation, shares the Dene language with an audience at the Prince Albert Elders Gathering in March 2020. First, she explains that Saskatchewan has 2 dialects the k-dialect (Black Lake, Fond du Lac, Stony) and the t-dialect (English River, etc.). She discusses the Denesuline language, sharing some words and meanings between dialects, acknowledging that there are over twenty Denesuline dialects across the country!

History and Timeline of the Dene People on Turtle Island

A sharing of the history of Dene people and the progression of losing language and culture since contact.

Margaret Reynolds, a Dene woman from English River First Nation, shares the history of Dene people on Turtle Island at the Prince Albert Elders Gathering in March 2020. Reynolds describes how life changed for the Dene people in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta during contact with Europeans. She discusses how the Dene people lived and the nature of trade relations with trading posts before small pox. 

Embracing Indigenous Spirituality

Indigenous scholar, Dr. Blair Stonechild, discusses Indigenous spirituality in his recent publications.

Dr. Blair Stonechild is from Muscowpetung Saulteaux Nation and is a professor of Indigenous Studies at First Nations University of Canada. After years of research and a keen interest in Indigenous spirituality and has written two books: The Knowledge Seeker – Embracing Indigenous Spirituality (2016) and Loss of Indigenous Eden and the Fall of Spirituality (2020). These two books have contributed to exposing how Indigenous spirituality has been systematically stolen from Indigenous peoples and helps to establish some of the principles of understanding Indigenous spirituality. Stonechild explains, “if you ever hope to understand Indigenous spirituality you have to understand that we are spiritual beings on a physical journey.”

A Case Study and an Assessment Framework for Land-Based Learning

Cree immersion and culture camps offer participants a culturally responsive education.

Founder of kâniyâsihk Culture Camps and initiator of the Cree Immersion School at Ministikwin Lake Cree Nation, Kevin Lewis is an Indigenous academic who has brought what he has learned about educating back to his community. Lewis is committed to land-based learning and Cree education and hopes to ensure his programs provide people, young and old, with a culturally responsive education. In order to evaluate these programs, he enlisted a colleague as an external reviewer who has experience establishing Maori schools and language centres in New Zealand. By evaluating both the school and the culture camps Lewis is learning about what students and parents are feeling, wanting, and thinking about these programs, which has informed how the program changes and adapts over time. The case study is considered a snapshot of the programs at a particular moment in time, and when the case study is combined with the Structured Assessments Framework for Land-Based Learning at kâniyâsihk Culture Camps, it becomes a model for evaluating such programs.

La First Peoples’ House, les initiatives autochtones et l’Université McGill/First Peoples’ House, Indigenous Initiatives et McGill University

The description of the Story. This content will accompany the Title on the website. La communauté de l’Université McGill à Montréal présente une longue histoire en termes de collaboration avec les nations autochtones, en commençant par la création du McGill Intertribal Council au début des années 1970 qui visait à répondre aux besoins culturels des […]

The description of the Story. This content will accompany the Title on the website. La communauté de l’Université McGill à Montréal présente une longue histoire en termes de collaboration avec les nations autochtones, en commençant par la création du McGill Intertribal Council au début des années 1970 qui visait à répondre aux besoins culturels des étudiants autochtones (Stonechild, 2006; Dufour, 2017). Celui-ci mena rapidement à la fondation du Native North American Studies Institue (NNASI) en collaboration avec l’Association des Indiens du Québec (AIQ). Celui-ci joua un rôle important dans l’inauguration du Manitou Community College à La Macaza, l’un des premiers établissements postsecondaires par et pour les nations autochtones au Canada. L’Université McGill fut également la première institution du Québec à instaurer un programme de formation des maîtres-assistants autochtones au cours de la même période (ibid.). Depuis 1997, la First Peoples’ House offre des services d’accueil et de soutien culturellement adaptés aux étudiants autochtones de l’Université. Ce service qui a initialement été financé par le ministère de l’Éducation et des Études supérieures et certaines donations privées est maintenant principalement pris en charge par les Services aux étudiants de l’Institution. Souvent décrit comme un ‘home away from home’, cet espace consacré joue les rôles de lieu de rassemblement communautaire, de ressourcement, de référencement, de support, de tutorat, de mentorat et d’orientation scolaire et même de résidence pour plusieurs étudiants. Des activités récurrentes et ponctuelles -telles les dîners communautaires de soupe et bannique du mercredi midi- et des événements annuels sont organisées. À l’été, la FPH, en collaboration avec la faculté de Médecine de la même université, organise le Eagle Spirit Camp, un camp de trois jours à l’intention de potentiels futurs étudiants âgés de 13 et 17 ans, dans le but de les encourager à réaliser leur plein potentiel éducatif et personnel. D’autres événements sont organisés en collaboration avec d’autres groupes tels le Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA), groupe d’intérêt étudiant formé d’étudiants autochtones et allochtones et le Social Equity and Diversity Education’s Office (SEDE) dont l’Indigenous Awareness Week qui culmine depuis 2001 par la tenue d’un Pow wow sur le campus à la session d’automne. Le Indigenous Educational Series, qui se déroule pour sa part à la session d’hiver, a ainsi pour objectif de sensibiliser la population étudiante aux réalités autochtones du Canada. Depuis 2005, le Indigenous Affairs Work Group a été mis sur pied par le doyen des affaires étudiantes (Dean of students) dans le but d’améliorer l’offre de service pour les étudiants autochtones. L’Université McGill est notamment très active au niveau de la prise de contact et du recrutement auprès des communautés à travers le Canada et présente une politique d’admission propres aux aspirants autochtones auto-identifiés. Ceux-ci sont appelés à fournir une lettre de motivation, une lettre de recommandation en plus d’un curriculum vitae en plus de leur formulaire afin de permettre une évaluation adaptée par le comité d’admission. Un soutien personnalisé peut également être offert au cours de la demande d’admission. Un programme de mineure en études autochtones (Indigenous Studies) a été créé en 2014. En réponse aux appels à l’action de la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation du Canada, le vice-principal exécutif et vice-principal aux études de McGill a créé un Groupe de travail sur les études et l’éducation autochtones en 2016 dans le but de formuler une nouvelle orientation stratégique pouvant bonifier ses initiatives en la matière. RÉFÉRENCES CBC News. (2017, 20 septembre). 2017 edition of Turtle Island Reads celebrates the best in Indigenous Canadian writing. Consulté à l’adresse http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/turtle-island-reads-2017-cbc-indigenous-authors-1.4298777 Curtis, C. (2016, 23 septembre). McGill to take « leadership role » in recruiting aboriginal students. Consulté à l’adresse http://montrealgazette.com/news/mcgill-to-take-leadership-role-in-recruiting-aboriginal-students Dufour, E. (2017). Du Collège Manitou de La Macaza à l’Institution Kiuna d’Odanak: la genèse des établissements postsecondaires par et pour les Premières Nations au Québec. Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, 70(4), 5 33. Fennario, T. (2016). McGill University offers gesture of reconciliation with Indigenous people. Montréal. Consulté à l’adresse http://aptnnews.ca/2016/09/23/mcgill-university-offers-gesture-of-reconciliation-with-indigenous-people/ McGill University. (2017). Eagle Spirit High Performance Camp. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/fph/prospective-students/eaglespiritcamp McGill University. (2013). Pow wow at McGill. Montréal. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXuHoKi-2tU McGill University. (2017a). First Peoples’ House. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/fph/ McGill University. (2017b). Indigenous Affairs Work Group. Consulté à l’adresse http://www.mcgill.ca/deanofstudents/aboriginaloutreach McGill University. (2017c). Indigenous Applicants. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/applying/requirements/indigenous McGill University. (2017d). Indigenous Awareness Week. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/fph/resources/indigenous-education-program/indigenous-awareness-week McGill University. (2017e). Indigenous Educational Series. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/fph/resources/indigenous-education-program/indigenous-educational-series McGill University. (2017f). Indigenous Studies Program. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/indigenous/home McGill University. (2018). Indigenous Success. Consulté à l’adresse https://www.mcgill.ca/provost/indigenous-success Stonechild, B. (2006). The Struggle for Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education in Canada. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Elements of Art – Textures in Our Environment

Elements of Art – Textures in Our Environment explores the connection between art and life. It links Indigenous values, such as our connection to water and our protection of Mother Earth, to artistic representations. In this lesson, Sara Leah Hindy, a Mi’kmaw teacher, introduces the significance of place and explores textures in one of her […]

Elements of Art – Textures in Our Environment explores the connection between art and life. It links Indigenous values, such as our connection to water and our protection of Mother Earth, to artistic representations. In this lesson, Sara Leah Hindy, a Mi’kmaw teacher, introduces the significance of place and explores textures in one of her favourite places, the beach. Using a rock collected on the beach, Marcus Gosse, a Mi’kmaw artist, then guides students on an artistic journey that weaves together a story of people and place through petroglyph-inspired rock art. Following the lesson, students are encouraged to explore their own special places and create a story that they would like to share through an art piece, uniquely theirs.

The complete lesson, Elements of Art – Textures in Our Environment, can be found in NCCIE’s Teaching Resource Centre at https://www.nccie.ca.

Dancing Circles: Strong Hoop, Strong Spirit

Bringing hoop dancing to life through an instructional video.

The video, Dancing Circles: Strong Hoop, Strong Spirit (2003), is a Cree/English Instructional Resource on Hoop Dancing. The Hoop Dance is the accompanying Teacher Resource and both are aligned with Saskatchewan Learning curriculum. These resources are shared with permission from the writer, Anna-Leah King, Division Tech Media at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division.

Art Petahtegoose – Thinking in Our Language and Our Role in Creation

An Elder, who is preparing Anishinaabe people to be responsible, knowledgeable about their culture, creation and to show us our own personal role in Creation.

An Elder, who is preparing Anishinaabe people to be responsible, knowledgeable about their culture, creation and to show us our own personal role in Creation.