Traditional Knowledge

First Meetings Project Photograph Exhibit

The project staged a setting where French/European Voyageurs men first meet the Aboriginal peoples in their camps and villages. The idea was to portray the true setting, where Canada’s First peoples are seen as healthy, friendly people who helped the first white voyageurs and settlers live on the land.  Many ideas and artworks of the “First Meeting” have been portrayed in history as negative, scary and shown in an idealized, romantic light.  We created an environment that was closer to the true history of the first meetings, where First Nations peoples are portrayed as healthy, kind and helpful people who shared their resources with men who had been travelling for months and in most cases were starving.

The exhibit is up in Galerie Cite until April 2018, and video components of the project will be up on the La Cite Francophone website in February.  https://www.lacitefranco.ca/galerie-cite

Cree Elder James Grandjambe of Fort MacKay, AB

Long time ago, I was interviewing James for a book we were working on called "Our Stories Help The Northern Lights Dance." I was asked to interview Elders in Fort MacKay and Fort Chip. It was a dream come true.

I interviewed James and he, at that time, was the eldest Knowledge Keeper in Fort MacKay. I shared an afternoon speaking with him. His dog was Princess. She put up with me bothering James with so many questions. James has pointed moccasins and was very patient with me.

After we were done, I asked James if he had any rat root. I promised to take his picture and make copies for him and his family for trade. He agreed.

 

He went into his back room on his wheelchair and was gone for 10 of the longest minutes of my life and when he returned, he had the biggest bag of ratroot I had ever seen.

He took out a handfull of ratroot and I was so happy. The flu was bad that year. I could help so many friends and family members.

 

He handed me the rest of the bag. It was as big as my face (and I have a puffy face!).

 

"You're young," he said. "You take it."

 

And that is the spirit of our Elders right there: always wanting the best for us all.

 

I am so grateful to James and his sister for welcoming me and my questions into their homes.

 

:)

 

Mahsi cho.

 

Richard

 

How to Stop Bullying: Show Your Kindness

Bullying occurs everywhere and between people of all ages. It happens in our homes, at work, and in school. The community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta is taking a courageous stand against Bullying by returning to the traditional values of KISEWATISIWIN (Cree) & BEYIJA NAZON (Dene) which is translated to: Show Your Kindness. SHOW YOUR KINDNESS tells the story of a teenage girl bullied to the brink of suicide and her emotional journey back to family, community, and culture. How do you Stop Bullying? Simple. Show Your Kindness.

Common Ground - Aboriginal Hunters & Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers

Common Ground is a documentary-drama that depicts an interaction between an Aboriginal Hunter and an Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer. Featuring commentary from traditional Aboriginal Hunters and leadership from Alberta’s Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch, Common Ground explores their historical and contemporary relationship - and the common ground they stand on.

Wahkohtowin - Cree Natural Law

Discussions by four Cree Elders; George Brertton, Fred Campiou, Isaac Chamakese and William Dreaver, give insight into the differences between Canadian law and Cree Natural Law and why Natural Law is needed in contemporary society. Wahkohtowin means "everything is related." It is one of the basic principles of Cree Natural Law passed through language, song, prayer, and storytelling. The Elders explain that by following the teachings of Wahkohtowin individuals, communities and societies are healthier.

Frontier College Summer Literacy Camp at Montrose School

In 2017, Edmonton Public Schools and Edmonton Catholic Schools partnered with Frontier College to promote more students’ opportunities and achievements through Summer Literacy Camps. The camps use a daily curriculum of literacy-embedded activities to reduce summer learning loss and support children’s ability, enjoyment, and confidence as readers.  This summer’s camps at Brightview and Montrose schools reached 38 children. 

Beyond the benefits to campers, Summer Literacy Camps make a wider impact on communities by:  
 
Campers spend time reading every day and bring books home to keep. This year, each camp received approximately 180 books. In total, campers in Edmonton received 360 books to build their home libraries. 
 
Elders and community members lead Indigenous language and culture sessions, field trips, and other activities. Parents and family members support their children’s learning by visiting camp—to read a book, play a game, or just observe. Their presence sends a positive message to campers about the value of learning and education.  
 
Local staff receive training and increase their leadership skills and literacy knowledge as camp counsellors. This year, five counsellors in Edmonton received intensive Summer Literacy Camp training.

Camp Outcomes

  • 83% of campers said that camp made them more excited about school
  • 89% of parents said their children read more at home after attending camp
  • Camps increased students’ academic readiness, according to 85% of teachers surveyed nationally