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830 Powers Street, Winnipeg, MB, R2V 4E7| Phone: (204) 586-8061| Fax: (204) 589-2504
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Seven Oaks School Division
Community Begins Here
Aug 15, 2022
No School Today
September 2015

MP Logo.jpgMargaret Park School


Celebrating Aboriginal Cultures

The Margaret Park Story

Margaret Park School is beginning its twelfth year of integrating Aboriginal perspectives into the experiences, learning and culture of the school community.  Although this journey officially began exactly twelve years ago with the designation of the school as one of thirty plus BSSAP (Building Student Success through Aboriginal Parents) sites in Manitoba, the school has always had an openness to understanding and learning from the cultures of the families represented in its population.  For example, Margaret Park has also housed one of two English Hebrew Bilingual Programs in metro Winnipeg. Having dual programs within the school has helped to support the regular honouring and recognition of many diverse histories and cultural practices.
Today, though, the experience of Celebrating Aboriginal Cultures: a Project of Sustainability through Language, Stories and the Arts, is moving from something we have to remind ourselves to do, to a regular embedded part of our daily practice. We are grateful for those who have come alongside us and supported our learning.  Thank-you to Kevin Chief for helping us get started, Barbara and Clarence Nepinak for regularly attending and supporting our school day and evening events, Mary Courchene for her strong presence and guidance in SOSD and  Rebecca Chartrand and Bernie Smith for offering regular support in planning this work.  They have all reminded us to firmly plant our feet on Treaty One land and honour the ideals and stories of what truly makes us Canadian.
Along with some pictures and captions, we want to acknowledge the following practices as integral to how we see ourselves day to day and year to year in our journey of Aboriginal learning.  Our children, families and staff see these as “traditions”.
      • Using The Eagle Song and Me to We (co-written by Lori Barber and M. Park Students; inspired by a grandfather in Lori’s class, and parent Cory Campbell) as our school songs
      • Committing to our Rays of Respect behavior initiative (modeled after James Nisbet’s Seeds of Peace) as the yearly framework for learning the Seven Teachings, fostering leadership in our students, regular celebration in our monthly assemblies and the inspiration for our Rays of Respect t-shirts (original logo designed by Heidi Presingular)
      • Community involvement in four Celebrating Aboriginal Cultures evening events including a parent planning night
        Regular involvement of elders Barbara and Clarence Nepinak who our families have come to know and recognize out in the community
      • A commitment to the Arts as a way to know and understand cultural voice (pow wow club, guests artists, class projects and gallery showings)
      • Learning to respect our land through ownership of our bird and butterfly gardens, vegetable garden boxes and the care of all plants, including an understanding of species indigenous to Manitoba (partnerships with Bridging the Gap, Urban Eaters’ and Unite to Change)
      • Inviting and engaging our community in our learning



Our Celebrating Aboriginal Cultures evenings always include a community potluck. It brings our school family together over good food and gives us the opportunity to share our stories.

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Community elders are always invited to our evenings; Clarence Nepinak explained smudging at one of our potlucks.




​This year, we invited our school families to moccasin making evenings. We met 4 times over the school year, and in the end, everyone had made their own pair of moccasins.

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Although the beaded vamp was provided, each pair was unique.




​Barb and Clarence Nepinak led the moccasin making workshop.

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Over the years, we’ve encouraged community, school staff, and families to become involved in our celebrations.



​We have invited families to share bannock recipes. We’ve brought in a fire pit to  cook bannock on a stick.

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A portable planetarium was included as part of our evening, and the constellations were described through Aboriginal perspectives.

​ ​Art is a large part of how we explore and celebrate Aboriginal cultures








​We use a tree with attachable leaves to highlight the 7 Sacred Teachings.

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Students in our Grade 4/5 multiage painted a sectioned mural with our Art teacher Ms. Bottle.








Families created an acrylic painting during one of our Celebrating Aboriginal Cultures evening.

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​The butterfly garden is used regularly by classrooms, and included a painting by Lita Fontaine.

​Dance is an important part of how we include Aboriginal cultures in our school





​We’ve participated in community round dances.

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We’ve invited guest dancers into our school.




​This year, our pow wow club performed a demonstration with Elwick School at the BSSAP gathering.

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​The fiddle club, “The Respectabows” performed at the Seven Oaks Graduation Pow Wow.



​Our pow wow club participated in their second Seven Oaks Graduation Pow Wow this year, and members of our staff drummed for the pow wow with the Red Robe Women’s Drumming and Singing Society.

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​​Margaret Park School welcomed the Red Robe Women’s Drumming and Singing Society; which included a drum ceremony and drum feast.
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​Aboriginal teachings and celebrations happen as part of our school culture, and are integrated into who we are as a community school.

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​Treaty Day included drumming, water colour paintings of the 7 teachings, beading, and Aboriginal games. Every teacher led a centre.




​Barb and Clarence Nepinak are regulars in our classrooms.

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 We grow the three sisters in our community garden boxes.
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​The kindergarten and Grade one/two multiage classrooms raised and released butterflies, with a tobacco offering.

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Our library has been remodeled with a deliberate intention of including a natural, Aboriginal focus.






​Margaret Park offers the BEEP program during the summer months; with assistance from Margaret Park staff, they have incorporated the Ojibwe language into their program.

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