Thursday, 18 December 2014

Linwood's Talking Circle

Linwood's Talking Circle has been learning about the one who delivers the Seven Virtues, the Seven Teachings of the Anishinaabe. 
The Life Giver (keesis) is the Sun. Without the Sun, there would be no life.  
Neeba-keesis  is the Sleeping Sun (the Moon). Keesis is the male, and Neeba-keesis is female. 
This beautiful artwork is the students' interpretation of who Keesis is, and why we have the Seven Virtues.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Holiday Show!

If you're looking for an entertaining show for the holidays, this would be a fabulous option!
Friday, December 19th at 7 pm, the Aboriginal School of Dance is performing at Thunderbird House.
The Aboriginal School of Dance is a well known Manitoba dance school that not only teaches traditional pow wow dance, but also contemporary, hip hop, and Capoeira dance as well. They put on a great show! A number of St. James - Assiniboia School Division schools have taken part in their dance residencies, where their instructors take over physical education classes. 
Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for seniors/students/youth.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

5th Annual Aboriginal Holiday Feast!

Sixty students from George Waters and St. James Collegiate gathered on Wednesday, December 10th to participate in a soapstone carving workshop led by Michael ManyEagles. A taco feast followed with yummy bannock from Neechi Commons! It was a great way to spend some time together! 
Submitted by Lauree Kopetsky

Monday, 8 December 2014

Strathmillan Staff Welcomes Elder Jules Lavallee

Strathmillan School staff welcomed Elder Jules Lavallee on the afternoon of Friday, December 5th!
Elder Lavallee is a highly respected voice in the Indigenous community, both in his role as a traditional healer and teacher, and in his role as Elder in Residence at Red River Community College.
Strathmillan invited him in to give their staff some background knowledge on the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe.  While it's important to note that traditionally people receive this knowledge through years of ceremony and sitting with Elders, this was a fantastic first step towards understanding. Strathmillan is really looking forward to continuing this conversation with Elder Lavallee, and bringing this knowledge to their classrooms!

Monday, 1 December 2014

St. James Collegiate - Sisters in Spirit Action Group

A group of 15 or so "committed to build awareness and make change" students from St. James Collegiate have started a Sisters in Spirit Action Group. Their goal is to gather monthly to learn more about and build awareness around the issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Canada. Male students are welcome to attend to be part of the learning.  
The International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women was on November 25th, and we included the following activities:  smudging, poems read by two of the students, and the release of red, yellow, black, and white balloons that included messages of commemoration of women that are no longer with us, as well as messages of hope for the end of violence against women.  
It is an honour to work with such an amazing group of young people.   
Submitted by Ms. Gluska and Ms.Kopetsky 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival

Some students from John Taylor Collegiate and St. James Collegiate were fortunate to attend the Youth Education Day of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival yesterday!
Senior Years students from across the city were in attendance!
It was held at the Bandwidth Theatre (formerly the Ellice Theatre), and was organized by actor Adam Beach, and WAFF director Coleen Rajotte.
The day began with a drum song and a prayer, and actor Jeremiah Bitsui told students his personal story of how he got into the film industry!
It was a fantastic day for students!
For more information, check out these links:

Jeremiah Bitsui (of  'Breaking Bad' fame!) with students
Talking with actor Ryan Black!
Yum! Lunch was bison chili and bannock!

Friday, 7 November 2014

We Remember...

Sgt. Tommy Prince
This week there has been a lot going on in our schools across the division 
to learn about and honour our veterans.
Remembrance Day is on Tuesday, November 11th.
It's also important to note the role Indigenous people played in Canada's military past.  
Many well-known Canadian war heroes were Indigenous, including Sgt. Tommy Prince, and 
Cpl. Francis Pegahmagabow. Some of Canada's most famous and deadliest snipers were Indigenous! Cpl. Pegahmagabow alone has been credited with 378 kills in World War I.
It's also important to note, that in order to even enlist in the Canadian army, First Nations people were forced by the government to give up their Indian Status. 
If you'd like further information, here are links to some great resouces!

Winnipeg Free Press - The Timber Wolves of War

Cpl. Francis Pegahmegabow

Thursday, 30 October 2014

There's an App for That!

If you're looking for an engaging way to include Indigenous perspectives in your classroom, 
language is definitely a fun and interesting angle!  Unfortunately we don't all have immediate access to Indigenous language speakers, BUT there are a number of exciting apps that can help expose your students to the Indigenous languages of Manitoba!  Here's a quick look at some of the apps that are out there!

'Ogoki' is a free app created by Darrick Baxter, who just so happens to live in St. James.
It's a basic Anishinaabemowin dictionary broken into different content areas, and when you press a specific word, you hear it pronounced. Students love this one!

'Neechee' is another Anishinaabemowin app, developed by Wab Kinew. It costs $1.99.
Instead of working as a dictionary, this app allows you to create phrases in English, and then it translates the phrase into Anishinaabemowin in writing. This app is also a lot of fun to play around with, and students get to see the structure of how phrases are constructed. 

Cree Dictionary
'Cree Dictionary' is a free app that actually has the ability to switch between three different Cree dialects (because we all know that not all Cree dialects are the same, right?)
If you want to know what an English word is in Cree, you can type it in, and it will give you the written form, both phonetically and in Cree Syllabics. You can also do the reverse, and translate from Cree into English.

Government of Saskatchewan Apps
The Government of Saskatchewan has produced three free apps that are excellent, especially in the early years classroom! They all come in the form of an interactive storybook:
'Aski and Turtle Island', 'Kon and the Circle of Life', and 'Tate and the Flyers'.
 The stories come written in English, and can be listened to in English as well, 
but you have the ability to change the stories into Cree, Dene, or Michif (Metis language).

If anyone out there gives these a try, we'd love to hear what you think of them!
Send some feedback to April at!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Election Day!

It's Election Day in Winnipeg! 
With all of the campaigns in full swing over the past few months, a lot of issues and questions in and around Winnipeg's Indigenous community have come to the forefront.
Yesterday, a Winnipeg journalist, Bartley Kives, wrote a very intelligent and articulate article. If you have a free moment, please read it!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Walking Wolf at Heritage!

Heritage School hosted an Indigenous drum and dance group on October 10th!
Walking Wolf is a group led by Ray Stevenson, who is both Cree and Anishinabe (Ojibway).
He taught the school some Indigenous songs and dances, and even led students in a round dance around the gym.  He also brought along Shanley Spence, who is an incredibly talented hoop dancer.
If you're looking to bring a dance group into your school, Walking Wolf is definitely a great choice!

Teaching a song about Sabe (Sasquatch)
Round Dance around the gym!
Shanley Spence starting the hoop dance

Friday, 10 October 2014

A Big Day at Sturgeon Heights!

We are VERY excited about a new initiative that has started at Sturgeon Heights!
Today marked the first class of a pilot program our division is beginning along with Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre (MFNERC). 
Patrick Maguire's Native Studies class (made up of grade 10 and grade 12 students) has begun learning Indigenous languages online with the Transparent Language program.  The students have made a choice which First Nations language they'd like to learn, and will engage in lessons every Friday morning.  This program will be started very soon at Brooklands as well!
One student was overheard saying, 
"I won't be able to sleep tonight! I'll have Cree running through my head!"
Big thanks to staff at Sturgeon and Brooklands for supporting this big step!


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Day with Faye Brownlie

We had a full house at McMaster House on Tuesday!
Faye Brownlie is in town all week, working with some schools in our division on the class review process.  We were able to snag her for a day to hold a session on Literature Circles, with a focus on Indigenous literature!
We had teachers from around the province in attendance, and it was wonderful to see Indigenous books and poetry used! We also had a number of publishers set up, where teachers could purchase some new books for their schools!
A great day was had by all!
Educators from all curriculum areas were in attendance! 

It's amazing to see the amount of Indigenous literature that's out there!
Using poetry from Duncan Mercredi to inspire discussion!
Renee & April with Faye Brownlie (far left) and Dr. Helen Armstrong from Brandon University (far right)

Friday, 3 October 2014


We found this interesting feature on the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's website!
It's a quick, 8 question quiz to see how much you know about Aboriginal cultures in Manitoba.
Take the test and see how well you do! (If you're wondering, we got 100%... hahaha)


One of our goals with this blog is to celebrate and share awesome things that are going on in our school division, in the field of Indigenous education!
Our team is very fortunate to be able to go into all of our schools, 
and see the good work that's going on! 
If you have something you'd like to share with us (and your colleagues!), please feel free to send photos and information to April Waters! (
It can be anything - a lesson that worked really well, an artist that came in to work with students, or a special event.
Today's little feature is the result of a quick walk in Brooklands School!

The Tipi Teachings being integrated into classroom expectations! We LOVE this!