Cody Dill, Royal West Campus
On February 3, we were lucky to have spoken word artist, activist, and emcee Zoey Pricelys Roy come to our school and offer a performance and a workshop for our students. This, thanks to our Education Initiatives grant from SAFE. Zoey not only performed poetry and song on the themes of social justice and identity, but also read from her new book Homecoming, which tells of her journey of finding home using narrative poetry. While at our school, Zoey spoke brilliantly about the systemic forces at play that led to problems such as incarceration and violence in her own youth. She spoke to the power of understanding these forces and finding a proud identity in spite of them. Zoey also led a small group of students through a writing workshop, and then volunteered her time to come back a second and third time to help the students prepare to perform their pieces. Thank you for your support of this incredible opportunity for our students.
Kerrie Thomas, St. Marguerite School
The Grade 6/7 class at St. Marguerite School is very grateful to the SAFE Committee for their generous grant donation. With the grant money, we were able to take a trip to Wanuskewin. Students spent the day learning some traditional First Nations games, learned about the spirit and history of Wanuskewin and were able to take a walk along the trails of Wanuskewin. Students got a chance to learn about how all parts of the buffalo were used and got to see and feel all the tools, clothing and supplies made from the buffalo. Most exciting was seeing the buffalo jump and stepping into the tipis on site. Thanks again for granting our students such a wonderful, enriching experience.
Michelle Vanhouwe, St. Mary’s Wellness and Education Centre
Thank you to SAFE for the $250 grant to contribute to our anti oppressive education initiatives for the 2014/15 school year.
Following is a brief report of our activities:
Grade 1 Respect for Diversity unit: picture books and videos were used to encourage class discussion around gender roles, respect for each other and for children with cultural practices different from their own. I have attached a photo of a chalk walk that was a follow up activity to the children listening to and discussing two picture books : My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen.
Grade 5/6 Health: Decision Making (DM)
DM5.1 Analyze possible obstacles and envision solutions to addressing health challenges related to personal eating practices, changes of puberty, impact of illness/disease, identity and well-being, violence, peer pressure, and self-regulation.
Songs and videos were used to work towards students thinking critically about how we view and treat others different from ourselves.
Grade 8 Activities and discussion around stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and the “isms….sexism, ageism, racism etc” as well as injustices related to “difference”. The $250 went towards the purchase of a teacher resource “Open Minds to Equality: A Sourcebook of Learning Activities to Affirm Diversity and Promote Equity” as well as numerous picture books around the theme of diversity.
Janet Carmona-Figueroa, Bishop James Mahoney High School
Our English as an Additional Language students from BJM would like to thank the SAFE Committee for the grant we received of $250.00 dollars. With the grant were able to go to Wanuskewin and learn about First Nations history in a very educational and fun way. Our student took part in the tepee raising, walked the beautiful trails, made dream catchers, played traditional games, watch Pow Wow dancing, and had a wonderful picnic with delicious snacks!
Thank you for allowing
us to have this wonderful day!
Michelle Galvin, Royal West Campus Holistic Education (Circle) program
Thank you for the grant we received for the Royal West Campus Holistic Education (Circle) program. We had a very successful year of programming, as the men learned to make hand drums, drum, sing, dance, act as servers and prepare and participate in round dances, sweats, smudges and other ceremonies. The women’s group learned to make moss bags, and the teachings that accompany the practice. They also learned about the missing and murdered aboriginal women and attended the Walking With Our Sisters Art Installation. Several of the pieces of art in the culture room were the result of successful bids in the auction to help move the installation to Yellowknife and were smudged into the room in a women’s ceremony, with prayers that the lost women know we are still thinking of them, and standing with them. The women’s group sewed slip covers for donated pillows so the circle could be held on the floor, and learned to make bannock, making enough for the school’s festive meal in December. The women’s group also learned some dancing and sewed indigenous clothes for dolls and feast and ribbon dresses for themselves. Throughout this hands-on learning, the students were writing and investigating, earning not only special project credits but ELA 30 and Native Studies 30 credits. None of this would have been possible without the elders and knowledge keepers, especially Tim Eashappie, Terrance Goodwill, Rocky Sutherland, and our very special Sheila Kennedy. At $75 per half day, they were not paid enough for all they did, but the honoraria would not have been possible without grants from SAFE and other organizations. Thank you for your support.
A friend asked me to summarize my experience with SAFE and I did so in this way:
“Newcomers to Canada frequently don’t see themselves as part of the Numbered Treaties signed by the government of Canada in the mid 1880’s, and often quickly learn myths and stereotypes of the First Nations before they actually meet any members of the group. In the Holistic Education Program, immigrant, First Nations and Métis, and other Canadians gather weekly to dance, drum and learn about First Nations culture and practices from First Nations elders and traditional knowledge keepers. My school board did not cover the $75/morning honorarium offered to each of the elders each week, so I had to look for outside sources for funding. SAFE provided me with a $250 initiative grant to fund these honoraria. Watching the young men circling the big drum, playing and singing, I knew I had honored the goal of the SAFE program, as the Cree knowledge keeper was joined by a Northern Cree, a Dene, 2 Nepalese, a Tanzanian, a Eritrean, an Iraqi Kurd, a black man from Philadelphia and an Ethiopian. What a great way for so many cultures to come together to celebrate Treaty 6 teachings and songs, and to show that we are all Treaty people!”