7 Teachings Novel/Film Study
Based on an idea developed by Kimmi Chinchilla and Rebecca Chartrand, I got the kids in my class to do a film study of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back through the lens of the 7 Sacred Teachings. Each student chose a character and explained how they showed each of the teachings at some point throughout the film. This gives them the opportunity to explore what each of the teachings means to them, and what it might mean in a variety of contexts. This student chose Luke Skywalker.
We, at Amber Trails, have our own smudging group. This group gets together every morning after the morning announcements. This group is lead with the assistance of students who take on roles as leaders for the younger students who participate in the activity. These roles are assisting in the development of relationships amongst the students as a whole, enhancing the dynamic of school community. By providing opportunity for all students to participate and be a part of the group, which smudges together in the mornings, strengthens the knowledge and understandings of Indigenous cultures and traditions throughout our school community.
"I like smudging because it helps to cleanse my mind, body and spirit. It takes away the negative energy. It helps to start my day." – Brennan
"I like smudging because it's part of my culture. I also really like the smell of the burning medicines." – Maui
"I like coming to smudging because I like the smell, and how it feels to be a helper." – Quinton
"I like smudging. I really like when the shell comes around and it's my turn to smudge. I really like how it smells and how I feel when we are done." - Juliana
Room 116's Talking Sticks
For Sharing Circle
|Sharing circle has always been a part of Room 116's class routine. We do our sharing circle every Monday morning. Students have learned that sharing circle was originated by First Nations people and this process was used to ensure that all leaders in the tribal council were heard and those who were speaking were not interrupted. Students have also learned that First Nations peoples use a sacred object like a talking stick to facilitate the sharing circle. Every student in Room 116 has made his/her own talking stick that we alternately use during our sharing circle. We are passing the talking stick around in a clockwise direction. Students have been learning that the main point of using the talking stick is that whoever is holding it has the right to speak and all others must listen quietly and respectfully. We have adopted the Talking Stick principle in our classroom not only to integrate aboriginal perspective but we also believe that it is a way to learn patience, self-discipline and respect to speakers and his/her words.|
Sharing Our Knowledge, Sharing Our Responsibility
Over 500 people gathered at Amber Trails Community School on Oct. 23 for the SAGE conference called Sharing Our Knowledge, Sharing Our Responsibility put on by the Council for Aboriginal Education in Manitoba. The keynote speaker, John Ralston Saul reminded us that we are all treaty people and we all have a responsibility to make things right for this generation and future generations. He mentioned that Canada has benefitted and will continue to benefit from Indigenous traditions such as sharing, peacekeeping, welcoming newcomers and taking care of the land. Many Canadians are proud of these values that are more representative of Indigenous values than European values. He warned us that if we don't protect and support Indigenous languages, we will close a door on civilizations that best understand the place where we live. These languages have a unique way of seeing and describing the land we call home and they have a philosophy that can help us take care of the land and each other.
Amber Trails Community School was a welcoming place for the CAEM conference. Even on a rainy day, the plentiful windows made the school seem bright and sunny. Smartboards in every classroom allowed us to offer wifi and easy projection for 30 workshops. Some workshop titles were Train the Trainer Blanket Activity (colonization simulation), Using Art as Social Activism, 7 Teachings for Literacy, 7 Teachings Yoga, Indigenous Gardening and Water & the Environment. The final Keynote Panel included Helen Robinson-Settee, Mary Courchene, Rebecca Chartrand, Bernadette Smith and Leah Gazan. The conference ended with a perfect symbol of reconciliation – a round dance where we held hands, formed a giant circle and found a common beat to dance to.