Christmas Mittens created by Win Ferguson Elementary Grade 2 students

Christmas Mittens created by Win Ferguson Elementary Grade 2 students

Around the Division

Making Space for First Nations, Métis & Inuit in Grade 2 at Win Ferguson Elementary
This year, at Win Ferguson Elementary, teachers and students in Grade 2 have been infusing an Indigenous perspective into their learning in a variety of ways.

  • During morning calendar time, students have been learning about the 13 moons of the Cree calendar from the book When the Trees Crackle With Cold, by Bernice Johnson-Laxdal and Miriam Körner. In November, students created moccasins for Hoar Frost Moon, a time for sorting beads and making new moccasins. 
  • In Physical Education & Wellness, students have been learning about the 7 Sacred Teachings, including teachings of Courage from the Bear. 
  • At Christmas, students had a virtual visit from Métis artist and author, Leah Dorion. They read her book Métis Christmas Mittens and made paper mittens with Leah. Then, they learned some beading basics with Mrs. Brassard and created their own felt Christmas mittens to gift to a loved one.  
  • In Social Studies this February, Grade 2 learned about life in Iqaluit. They received a virtual visit from Elder Goota Desmarais, from the high school in Iqualuit. Goota shared many stories about her life in Nunavut, and she taught students how to sing the alphabet in Inuktitut. 

Learning The Story of and Process to Make Ribbon Skirts 
Students from across the Division gathered together for two days of learning and creating at the first EIPS ribbon skirt workshop. Under the kind guidance of knowledge holder Heather Poitras, students in grades 9-12 learned some of the teachings and significance of ribbon skirts.  Students received starter sewing kits with fabric, ribbon and supplies to design and sew their own ribbon skirt. We’re thankful to Noella Steinhauer for her assistance with the kits. 

Ribbon skirts carry much meaning for many Indigenous womenthe participants spent time together designing, sewing, connecting and sharing. Each participant created a beautiful piece that expressed individual creativity and identity. We’re also thankful to Glen Allan Elementary and Lakeland Ridge for each hosting one day of the workshop, and to teacher Caroline McKay for generously sharing her classroom and expertise with the students. 

EIPS Hosted its First Round Dance 
Earlier this school year, an EIPS student approached the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education team, asking if they could organize a round dance for Division students and families. Under the guidance of Elder Wilson Bearhead, the team worked hard to honour the request. Being the first round dance for EIPS, Elder Wilson made it a teaching event where more than 130 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across the Division came together to learn the stories and meanings of different aspects of a round dance. There was much laughter, learning, sharing, storytelling andof coursedancing! Thank you to F.R. Haythorne Junior High for hosting the event and the Foods students for making delicious bannock for the feast. We’d also like to thank the EIPS student for her request to bring community togetheryour dream led to a special evening for many people! 

Upcoming Events 

  • On April 20, our second family gathering of the school year will take place at Glen Allan Elementary. Métis artist and knowledge holder Connie Kulhavy will share stories while families create an art piece together. Details of the event and an RSVP link were sent directly to Indigenous families. 
  • On Friday, April 21, join Métis knowledge holder Kalyn Kodiak and Rupertsland Institute online to learn about Métis relationships with the land on Earth Day this year. All are welcome to this free, virtual field trip. Login to the RECC Room to register! 
  • Dakota/Lakota artist Holly Yuzicapi from the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation is working as artist-in-residence with schools throughout the Division. Holly has over 25 years of experience facilitating cultural arts opportunities for all ages. Students participate in a three-day workshop that focuses on  arts, culture and reconciliation. Holly shares the history of Indigenous Peoples, creates cultural understanding and nurtures compassion through unique art expression with students.  We’re excited to share what students create under Holly’s guidance. 

Resources of Interest 

  • Looking for an introduction to round dances? Watch this short video from the University of Alberta for Rand Dance 101 basics.
  • Did you know? Canada recently proclaimed its own National Ribbon Skirt Day, recognized annually on January 4Learn more