Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Stress Hacks Website Released!

A new provincially funded child and youth mental health navigation website, StressHacks, is now available to the public.
StressHacks adds to the province’s $2-million investment in a comprehensive, multi-year children and youth mental health strategy. The Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre (MATC), with support from the Manitoba government, developed the content and design with feedback from stakeholders. The site is geared toward children and youth between the ages of 10 and 24.  It provides quick suggestions, or hacks, that will help individuals to decide if and when they need help, how to find help, and offer self-help tips and resources. The site will also assist users to locate a range of local and provincial mental health supports and services by providing links, resources and a Services Map (geo-locator) developed by Manitoba eHealth.

David Robertson at Crestview

Indigenous author David Alexander Robertson visited a grade 4/5 classroom at Crestview School on October 2nd. The class has been studying his graphic novel series 'Tales From Big Spirit', and using them as a springboard to do their own writing about heroes. If you're not familiar with the series, it's an amazing set that educates students (and adults!) about various Indigenous people throughout history that have made important contributions to our country.
The class LOVES the series and had a ton of questions for Dave about where he got his inspiration from, his own history, and how he goes about writing his books!
What a great afternoon! Thanks for coming out Dave!

For more information on Dave's novels, go to this website: Portage and Main Press
His books are also available at McNally Robinson, and would be an essential for any classroom or school library!

Orange Shirt Day in St. James - Assiniboia

September 30th marked an important day across our country. Schools were filled with the colour orange to show support for the survivors of Residential Schools, and for those who did not.
Schools across our division participated in a variety of ways.
George Waters Middle School and St. James Collegiate purchased orange t-shirts for all of their students and staff, and held assemblies to talk about this dark piece of Canada's history.

(Pictures from George Waters Blog)

The conversations have also continued beyond the assembly, into their classrooms.
Here is one example:
George Waters

APTN (Aboriginal People Television Network) also came to interview some students:
APTN Story

Bold Eagle Program

The Canadian Armed Forces offers a fantastic program called 'Bold Eagle', geared towards Indigenous students ages sixteen and older. a student from our school division attended last year!
Check out the video of Thomas Moore talking about his experience!

Thanks Thomas!
For more information, contact your Student Success Coach, or go to the Canadian Armed Forces website: Bold Eagle

Monday, 28 September 2015

Brooklands Visits Bannock Point!

The grade 4 and 5 classes at Brooklands School were extremely fortunate to take a field trip out to Bannock Point in the Whiteshell on Thursday, September 24th.  It was a full day of hiking and learning in one of the most breathtaking places in Manitoba!  If you get a chance to visit there one day, make sure you go!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Our Favourites!

It's the time of year when schools start looking for ways to expand their libraries and spend some grant money! To help you out, we've created a list of our favourites and must-haves for your school and classroom libraries! Take a peek and start planning your shopping lists!

Early Years:
Anything by David Bouchard
 Anything by Katherena Vermette
Anything by Joseph Bruhac
 Anything by Joe McLellan
Shannon and the Dream for a School (Janet Wilson)
Peter Eyvindson (Kookum’s Red Shoes; Red Parka Mary)
Jenneli’s Dance (Elizabeth Denny)
Byrd Baylor (Everybody Needs a Rock; The Other Way to Listen)
Christy Jordan-Fenton (When I Was Eight; Not My Girl)
Pisim Finds Her Miskanow (William Dumas)

Middle Years:
Anything by David Alexander Robertson 
Looks Like Daylight (Deborah Ellis)
Christy Jordan-Fenton (Fatty Legs; A Stranger at Home)
 Red- a Haida Manga (Michael Yahgulanaas)
 A is for Assimilation (Len Fortune)
My Name is Seepeetza (Shirley Sterling)
Dreaming in Indian (Lisa Charleyboy)
Touching Spirit Bear (Ben Mikaelsen) 

Senior Years:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)
Richard Van Camp (The Lesser Blessed; Three Feathers)
In Search of April Raintree (Beatrice Mosonier)
Broken Circle (Theodore Fontaine)
Richard Wagamese (Indian Horse, Medicine Walk)
Thomas King (The Inconvenient Indian; The Truth About Stories)
Duncan Mercredi poetry
Manitowapow (anthology)
The Rez Sisters (Thomson Highway) – play
The Comeback (John Raulston Saul)
North End Love Songs (Katherena Vermette)

Got any other recommendations? Let us know!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Orange Shirt Day - Every Child Matters

Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission Indian Residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake in the spring of 2013.  It grew out of Phyllis Webstad's account of losing her pretty new orange shirt on her first day of school at the Mission, and it has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually.  The date was chosen because children are back in school and teachers have time to plan, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the year.  Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and community agencies to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. It is an opportunity to rebuild relationships and build community.

Phyllis' Story (YouTube video)

Monday, 14 September 2015

In. Business

Welcome back to the 2015-2016 school year everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful summer!
It's hard to believe we're already back at it!
It's the first full week, and already we're in full swing!
John Taylor was fortunate to have a special guest today - Hanwakan Whitecloud from In.Business.
In.Business is a national mentorship program for Indigenous youth. It was created by Cape Breton University, and the local chapter is run through the University of Winnipeg.
It gives students from grades 10-12 a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain experience and exposure to the business world. 
Students who are interested in this are encourage to apply!  You can fill out the application form online at In.Business, towards the bottom of the page . You will also need the student recommendation form found here
The deadline for all paperwork is Friday, October 9th, 2015.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The End!

It's hard to believe that it's the end of the school year already!
What a wonderful year we have had!
Let's end it on an uplifting note - here's a video called 'I Will' that we created with the help of some of our Indigenous students in the division. Big thanks go out to the schools that supported this project, the students who found the courage to participate and share their dreams, and to music group A Tribe Called Red for giving us permission to use their song!

Have a safe & restful summer break!
Read the TRC report for homework!

Birthing Drums at Heritage

Heritage School was fortunate to be able to bring in Elder Stanley Kipling to make drums with some students.  Elder Kipling has a vast wealth of knowledge, including how to make (or birth, as some people say) drums.  A group of grade four students came in to work with him, listen to the teachings around the drum, and how we appreciate how the animal gave up its life for the drum. The students were taught how to make the drum, step by step, which resulted in five beautiful drums being created for the school to use.  The drums will dry over the summer, and in September 2015, when the students return as grade fives, they will paint them, and feast them.  
The experience was wonderful, with the students leaving at the end of the workshop being very proud of what they created! Miigwetch to Elder Kipling for teaching us! It was a great morning!

Learning how to lace and tie the elk hide to the frame

Elder Kipling helps to tighten!

The final product! 

Celebrating Aboriginal Day at Brooklands!

Aboriginal Day is held every year on June 21st, the summer solstice. This year it fell on a Sunday, so Brooklands decided to celebrate the day after! The entire school attended an assembly in the afternoon that featured an Aboriginal School of Dance performance, singing and drumming with Walking Wolf, and a performance of the Bear Song by the three grade 1/2 classrooms who had learned and practiced the song. An evening BBQ with the school community also included a return of Walking Wolf, along with an amazing hoop dancer, Shanley Spence! (and an attempt to hoop dance by principal Mr. Ferguson-Baird!) What a great way to celebrate the culture and contributions of Indigenous people to Canada!
Aboriginal School of Dance

 Walking Wolf

Shanley Spence and her amazing gift!

Mr. Ferguson-Baird tries it out!

Chief Justice Murray Sinclair comes to Bruce!

Bruce Middle School had an amazing opportunity on Wednesday, June 17th!
Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, came to Bruce to talk to staff and students about the final summary that was recently released by the TRC.  He spoke about what he learned through this six year process, the stories that he was told, and the things that Canada needs to do to begin the reconciliation process. It was a memorable afternoon with a lot of important teachings and messages. Miigwetch to Chief Justice Sinclair, and to Bruce for inviting our team to attend!

The TRC Report

Friday, 5 June 2015

Heart Gardens and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

June 2nd was a big day for Canada.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their report to the country on Tuesday. To show our support for the survivors and for the report, nine grade 4 and 5 classrooms in our school division (in four different schools) joined in the TRC Heart Garden project. They created gardens in front of their schools made entirely out of hearts, with messages of hope and support. What a powerful activity. Thank you so much to the students, educators, and administrators for jumping on board!

Crestview School

 Stevenson-Britannia School

Brooklands School

Heritage School

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


A huge congratulations goes out to Mrs. Kopetsky and the 'Sisters in Spirit' group at St. James Collegiate. Their amazing group was awarded the City of Winnipeg's Citizen and Equity Award for the Wade “Kojo” Williams Jr. Award for Action Against Racism and Discrimination.  
The group's focus this year has been on building awareness and support for the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada.  Huge congratulations also goes to Brandon Eastman for taking home the Youth Role Model Award!
Well done! We are very proud of all your hard work!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Crestview, Sheila North Wilson, and Shoal Lake 40

Mrs. McDonald's grade 4/5 class at Crestview School has been learning a lot about Canadian history this year, and they have become particularly interested in Indigenous issues. One major topic that they have been writing and researching about lately is Shoal Lake 40, a First Nation reserve in Ontario. Why is it important about Shoal Lake? Well, that's where the City of Winnipeg gets its clean drinking water from, while the residents of Shoal Lake 40 themselves have lived 18 years under a boil water advisory.  The students wanted some more information around this, so Sheila North Wilson, a journalist for CTV Winnipeg, agreed to come meet the class and try to answer some questions. Sheila has done some reporting around the Shoal Lake 40 water issues, and has visited the community as well. She was able to give the students a better picture of what is going on there, and answered many questions that the students wanted answers to. To top it off, Sheila was able to call the Chief of Shoal Lake 40, Chief Erwin Redsky, and the students were able to talk with him over her speakerphone! What an amazing learning experience! Ekosi (thanks) to Sheila for giving the students a deeper understanding of the issue! They have big plans already for next steps!  :)

Students brainstormed questions before Sheila arrived

Sheila talking about Shoal Lake 40 

Speaking with Chief Erwin Redsky from Shoal Lake 40

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Truth and Reconciliation Commission 2015

Something very important is happening in Ottawa from May 31st to June 2nd.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), led by Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, will be publicly releasing their report to our country on June 2nd.  The TRC has spent the past 6 years listening to the stories of the survivors from the Residential School system in Canada, researching, and gathering evidence. The TRC’s report will provide a detailed account of how over 150,000 Indigenous children were stripped from their families starting in the 1880's and sent to church-run schools established by the federal government. The last residential school closed in the 1990's.
It's essential that our education system, no matter what level of school you teach in, acknowledges this dark part of our country's history; it's a way forward for Canada, for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. It's our shared history as one nation. Education was what got us into this mess, but education is also what will get us out.
Check out some of the resources below, as well as on our 'Resources' page. 

Some great articles:



(thanks to @phunphunphun for archiving the amazing tweets from @kairos!)

Hashtags to follow on Twitter:

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Stevenson - Britannia

Some grade 4/5 students at Stevenson-Britannia School were lucky to meet Elder Stanley Kipling on Wednesday! He brings his knowledge, and some very cool stuff for students to get up and close with! Everything from animal bones and skulls, to feathers, to bear claws and teeth!
Elder Kipling teaches students how he finds these items, preserves them, and then turns them into important pieces that can be used in traditional Indigenous ceremonies and powwows.
We had a great time! Thanks (yet again!) to our wonderful friend Elder Kipling!
The students learned a lot and loved meeting you!