Indigenous Education Newsletter

June 2019

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Anishinaabe Language Pilot: Loughborough Public School and Perth Road Public School

Here are promised pictures from the Anishinaabemowin language pilot facilitated by Bond Strand with Janza Giangrosso, Maureen Buchanan with support from Kingston Languages Nest. Students and teachers learned so much through new language skills, listening to seasonal stories and learning on the land.
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Mohawk Language Classes

The Katarokwi Learning Centre, in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario, has been the center of Mohawk language classes once a week, for 8 weeks, with Joe Brown of Rotinonhsyonni Cultural Consulting, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Shawn, a student in the class says, "the course is great but challenging". In three weeks, student MJ is able to introduce herself - click on the red circle to hear her proficiency. This is another wonderful opportunity for students to engage in. Nya:wen Kowa MJ.

Christine Jamieson

MJIntroducingMyself by Christine Jamieson

Honouring Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers in March

Students and educators receive so much from all the Indigenous community partners who share so generously with us. An appreciation dinner was held in March to express our gratitude for everyone's efforts to move our learning and understanding forward. Moose meat casserole, blueberry preserve, wild rice, fry bread and strawberry drink were prepared by Carol Anne Maracle for us to enjoy. Wild rice for 120 guests was donated by Stephanie Young of Native Renaissance II, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. A shout out to all the students and staff who volunteered to make the dinner a big success.

Colonization Road Film Public Screening

The weather finally cooperated to allow this long awaited film event to happen following the community dinner. The audience heard the KCVI student orchestra play musician Iskwé's piece prior to the screening. Dr. Terri-Lynn Brennan, Inclusive Voices Inc., hosted the question and answer session for the audience that followed Ryan McMahon's film. Thank you to everyone who supported the evening.

Imagine A Canada Honourees for Second Time

Loughborough Public School are honourees in the National Centre for Truth and Reconcilliation initiative Imagine A Canada 2019. This is a second year in a row that the work of the students is being recognized as they were honourees in 2018 too. This year, the students' multi-media project "What Dish Do You Want to Feed Your Grand Children" was selected from all provincial submissions. Janza Giangrosso and her daughter, Nescia travelled to Winnipeg in May to receive this award on behalf of all students at Loughborough Public School.

Teachers who would like more information about Imagine A Canada 2020, please see or contact

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Gifting of Wampum String for Kingston Secondary School

The photo below captures Thohohaken Dr. Michael Doxtater gifting Indigenous Student Leadership Course educator, Michelle Leake with a string of wampum, to be shared by both classes of Indigenous Leadership students at LCVI and KCVI sites, as they travel onto Kingston Secondary School together. All the students and educators in the audience ran their fingers over the wampum string to show their commitment to building relationships. "This gift represents our relationships as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples that inhabit this area" he stated, "what you do with this is up to you both now." Dr. Doxtater shared the meaning of Guswenta or Two Row Wampum. The string of wampum beads is in the Guswenta bead pattern.
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Feast Bundles: KCVI's Sweetgrass Circle and Environmental Club

A collaborative sustainability project started in the autumn with students from both the Sweetgrass Circle and the Environment Club at KCVI. The project required a lot of new skills to be mastered on donated sewing machines. Lessons on how to thread a machine, fill bobbins, make seams and thread drawstrings, resulted in beautifully lined feast bundle bags. Staff facilitators Joanne Whitfield, Matt Saunders and Bonnie Beals, supported students to navigate the creative process.

Personal Indigenous feast bundles are used in any setting to reduce landfill items of single use plastics like plastic cutlery and waste from disposable plates and serviettes. The bags were filled with previously enjoyed plates, bowls, cutlery, napkins assembled from donations and local thrift shops. The feast bundles were gifted to 30 grade 11 First Nations, Métis and Inuit Contemporary Voices English class teachers in April in order to encourage them to engage in an Indigenous sustainable practice to look after Mother Earth and to commit to having them with them to use on professional development days. This month, all the English teachers had them with them and there was a zero waste lunch. Indigenous knowledge, new skills, recycling and reusing, all driven by student energy and a desire to affect change - in a feast bundle.

Who was Molly Brant? Community-led Celebration at Molly Brant Public School

An evening to celebrate the anniversary of Koñwatsi'tsiaiéñni Molly Brant's birthday was held April 14, 2019. To mark the event local community, students and educators gathered to sing and celebrate her contributions to what is now known as Kingston and to unveil the newly commissioned triptych mural, by Shane Goudreau, now on display in the lobby of the school.

KAIROS Blanket Exercise

Indigenous community partners faciliated six blanket exercise experiences for students and educators in grade 11 Indigenous English classes, as well as four sessions on professional learning days for educators in April and May. These powerful days surfaced many emotions and insights while learning about the true history of Canada. Nya:wen Ko'wa to our faciliatators for this emotional labour for all who chose to participate.
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Indigenous Student Club: Rideau Heights Public School

The Indigenous student club, facilitated by Ray Byrne, and students in other classes had the opportunity to spend time with White Eagle Jennifer Meness, from Pikwakanagan First Nation and Kevin Kunkel, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, who both sit with the Bear Clan. They shared knowledge about their regaiia and then danced for their appreciative audience. Jennifer and Kevin spent some time chatting with Rideau Heights Public School student Claude Wesley. The Indigenous student club has now grown to 20 participants.
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Indigenous Student Leadership Course

Students in the LCVI and KCVI Indigenous Student Leadership Courses, in partnership with the Katarokwi Learning Centre have been involved in many learning opportunitities. Participating in activities like a sweatlodge, a personalized tour of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, a pictograph hike with medicine walk and in April, Thohahoken Dr. Michael Doxtater presented a cultural lecture, The Canadian Rafter and then escorted students to see the permanent wampum inspired art exhibit by Kanien'kehÁ:ka artist Hannah Claus, in the atrium at the Queen's Law Building. Unique learning experiences supported by local Indigenous community partners are the core of the Indigenous Student Leadership Course. To find out more information about enrolling in these courses, contact
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Community Education Gathering: Oakridge Park

Georgina Riel, of Riel Cultural Consulting, with Shawn Macdonald, Indigenous Lead with Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Gillianne Mundell, Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Lead LDSB and the City of Kingston, organized a brilliant day in the sunshine for 500 elementary students, community, parents and educators to enjoy and learn about culture in a community gathering. There were so many highlights - the cultural teachings with Elders and Knowledge Holders, drums and dancing, vendors and an Indigenous lunch.The afternoon of the Gathering centered around demonstrations for a Pow Wow.

Meet KCVI Student Raigilie Mackey

Raigilie Mackey has attended schools in the Limestone District School Board since grade two. She attended Lancaster Public School, the Challenge Program at Calvin Park and is now a grade 10 student at KCVI. This is what she had to say in an interview in April 2019.

What would you like to share about your family?

It is a very big family on both sides; most of us are very close and we try to keep in touch with each other even though we are spread out. My mom is Inuk and my dad is white; my mom grew up on Baffin Island and Northern Quebec in Nunavik, and my dad grew up in the greater Toronto area. I have three siblings; one older brother, a younger and an older sister. I live with my younger sister and my parents. My mom misses her family so we try to get home to Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, at least twice a year. We try to visit family, extended family and friends when we go there. When we visit, it’s usually during March Break. I play hockey while I’m up there and the players there are really good. It’s great to play a sport I love with them.

What are some of your best experiences in Indigenous Education at KCVI?

The main reason I came to KCVI was the IB program and it has been good for me academically and socially. I am in the Indigenous Leadership Course that runs during lunch hour. I have learned a lot about terminology, about the history of first contact, and Indigenous peoples connection to land. I get to go on a lot of field trips. One of the field trips was to Tyendinaga on tour with Crystal Loft and Mandy Smart. We learned about the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and how little land there is left from the original size of the territory due to colonization. We watched some traditional dances, one was Haudenosaunee and one was an Anishinabek dance – and then we got to participate and dance too. My highlight was going into the Band Office there, it’s not very big but it is really important for their community. It was interesting to see what they do there to fight for their land.

I also went to the Limestone Student Leadership Conference led by knowledge keepers and Elders. I did some beading with an Elder. I liked hearing their stories. Last year, I went with my sister but this year I went with my Indigenous Leadership class. One Elder talked about how reconciliation is a word she is not using, she believes in mentors and leadership as the way forward. I’ve been thinking about that.

I also participate in the Four Directions Indigenous Mentorship Program set up for me by Kelly Maracle. My mentor’s name is Madeline, who goes to Queen’s University and she is Inuk also. She is fun and she helps me with my academic work. She took me on a tour of

Queen’s – I saw the Bio Sciences building, did some of my homework in the library and then toured the greenhouse. I also visited her dorm. Madeline has the same interests as me, as she likes biology and wants to go into medicine.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I play sports. I play field hockey and I play ultimate for fun with my sister after school. During the winter I play ice hockey and in the summer, I sail a lot. I help my dad with our sailboat, I do homework, read, hang out with friends and sleep.

What does reconciliation mean for you?

Apologies are appreciated but that’s not going to fix everything. Action is where it’s at.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years in the future?

I am interested in global health care and I’m thinking about Doctors without Borders. I am also thinking about going back home, up north, to be part of the hospital and health care system there to help. I have lots of family and friends up there in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik.

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Meet The River student Colin Wesley

Colin Wesley is a grade 11 student at The River, which is an Indigenous program that is offered at the Katarokwi Learning Centre in the Limestone District School Board. The photo embedded to the left captures Colin meeting hip hop artist Cody Coyote (Anishinaabe/Irish) at the Indigenous Student Leadership Day in May. Here is what he had to say in an interview in April.

What would you like to share about your family?

My home community is Kashechewan, Ontario and I have been in Kingston for four years. I came to Kingston with my mum, who is here for dialysis. I have a brother too, he attends at Rideau Heights Public School. I’m really worried about my granddad and grandmum because they are about to be evacuated from their home because we flood every year. They have their date for the evacuation.

What are some of your best experiences in The River?

I really like my teachers and friends here. We built a birch bark canoe class in October. I got to sew with the roots which was really hard to do, but I managed it. I am really grateful for the learning I did with Wayne, Linda and Alphonso on that canoe build project. They were the experts. I like learning and working with my hands and I’m good at that.

I also did my first sweatlodge at The River when we went to Mr. Lovelace’s land at Eel Lake. It was a really good experience to have other people listening to me. This was my first time being in a sweatlodge. I didn’t do this at home.

What was a personal highlight for you as a student at Katarokwi Learning Centre?

I wasn’t really comfortable speaking out - I am very quiet. Now that I’ve been in The River program, I can speak in front of 20 students. When I first came here, I couldn’t do that. I am confident to say what I think now. Two weeks ago, students in The River taught a big group of teachers about smudging. I was able to teach them that we smudge our eyes to see good things, our ears to hear good things and our mouth to say only good things. I felt really proud after I explained this to teachers. Another student, told them all that there is no wrong way to smudge. I also liked the sugar bush field trip. I learned a lot about it and I really liked tasting the sugar water.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to play video games, especially Rainbow 6 Siege. I play a lot on weekends. My brother plays with me sometimes. I spend my time outdoors when I’m in Kashechewan but in Kingston, I spend all my time indoors.

What do you think is the path to Reconcilliation?

I think non-Indigenous people need to learn more about First Nations in Canada. I meet a lot of people when I’m online gaming and they often don’t know about First Nations or what that means. I think if Elders and knowledge keepers come into classrooms more kids and teachers will learn a lot more about traditional teachings.

What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I want to go to First Nations Technical Institute for pilot training and will need really good grades to attend the program. They want good English and math marks for the pilot program. I’d like to go home to be a bush pilot to help out my family so they can get their gear to their hunting camp. I could land a floatplane where they camp. Another option I have is joining the military.

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Final Day of Indigenous Student Leadership Gatherings: Gould Lake May 23

Many Elders and Knowledge Keepers spent the day with Indigenous students and their allies on the final gathering of three days, which explored Indigenous leadership and planning for action back in their school sites. Deb St. Amant (Metis/Anishinaabe) opened the day, focusing everyone on Mother Earth and how the day would hold special opportunities to use all of our senses to learn. Cultural teachings included a medicine walk, Haudenosaunee singing and drumming, Métis dancing and fiddling, canoing, lived experience sharing circles, cooking bannock over a fire and a demonstration of bear hide stretching and removing fur from a deer hide. Elder David Serkoak (Inuk) travelled from Ottawa to share Inuit drumming and other cultural items with students and Cody Coyote (Anishinaabe/Irish) shared his powerful messages of encouragement and resilience through hip hop music over the lunch hour. It was a wonderful day of learning.

4th Annual Friendship Lacrosse Game and Culture Day

This year, Eastside Secondary School in Belleville hosted the Reconciliation event for Frontenac Secondary School athletes. For the first time, a game between the girls' lacrosse teams at each school played. The womens' game has different rules. Another first this year, both teams and their coaches entered the field in a Stomp Dance to start off in a good way (see video clip below provided by Troy Maracle, Indigenous Lead in Hastings Prince Edward County DSB. As the relationship between the two schools grows, so does interest in the game. Both games were commentated and filmed by Cogeco - you might catch it on your local station. In the afternoon, the newly formed Lasalle Secondary School club team played Eastside Secondary School.

Giant Indigenous Floor Map

Shared between four school sites in March - this educational resource attracted a lot of students and educators. The kit comes with over 40 prepared lessons in many subject disciplines. Limestone District School Board has purchased a map and is waiting on delivery. Workshops will be offered at the LDSB August 21 Summer Institute. Stay tuned for details about how to reserve this resource once it arrives. Updates on delivery and booking procedure will be posted in Minds Online.