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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
Jun 15, 2024
No School Today
May 2015
​Treaty Days at Leila North School When the Treaties were made in Manitoba, the discussions were about building relationships, settlement and opportunities for all people to succeed in this land. Treaties define the relationship between people; the Crown and First Nations. Like any relationship it takes a continual commitment to make things work and evolve. Treaty relationships are no different; they entail reciprocity, respect and a commitment to work together to build a stronger and healthier nation. TRCM   From the Students; “This week I learned that we are all Treaty people it doesn’t matter whether we are born here or not, we are still a part of the Canadian Treaties because we live on the land.”  “When I look at people and the world, I feel like we are all connected and I feel like everything could change with just a handshake.” Treaty Days at Leila North The Leila staff was interested in finding ways to better support the learning of Indigenous culture and, in particular, learning about the Treaties. Having heard that Elwick School celebrates Treaty Days, we visited their team to find out more. We also contacted the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, and researched the history of Treaties in Manitoba. We learned that Treaty Days are celebrated all over the country.  We learned this is a time to renew the relationship that was built between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through the signing of the Treaties. We learned that Treaties are promises made between two nations and a handshake signified that the Treaty would be honored as long as the sun shines, grass grows, and waters flow.  As our school is situated on Treaty One land, and we are all treaty people, we decided we should celebrate with our own Treaty Days. During the week of Monday April 20th-Thursday April 23rd we celebrated Treaty Days.  Our intent during Treaty Days was for our students, staff, and community to gain a greater understanding of Treaties and how they impact our lives today as Canadians.  We set three goals to achieve during Treaty Days; to understand that there is an on-going reciprocal relationship that is part of our daily lives, to learn the historical ceremonial aspect of the signing of the Treaties (a promise made, the smoking of the pipe, and the handshake), and finally to celebrate the Treaties! From the students; “I learned what the Treaties are and what purpose they have. I also learned what the Indian Act is and how it affected people.” “I learned we are all Treaty people because we live on Treaty Land”   Our celebration began months prior to Treaty Days.  A few members of our staff attended the Treaty Education Training at the Treaty Commission of Manitoba.  They shared their new knowledge while other staff members continued to gain professional development opportunities including Council of Aboriginal Educators, Indigenous Drumming and Indigenous Art workshops offered by the Division, Educational Leave focussed on Indigenous Education in our school, Three Pillar workshops lead by Kevin Lamoureux, and in school sharing and collaborating among staff.  Some staff began to implement the Treaty Kits developed through the Treaty Commission of Manitoba.  Students were engaging in art, reading, and writing that helped them gain a better understanding of the Treaties.        The Grade 6 students all took part in the Blanket Simulation lead by Rebecca Chartrand and divisional CATEP students. The simulation gave the students an opportunity to experience what life was like before the Treaties and after the Treaties.  They didn’t just hear or read about this history, they were transported back in time and walked in the shoes of the First Nation people through history.      From the students; “I felt sad at first because I found out how they were treated but then I felt glad because my class now knows what happened so it won’t happen again.” “It was a very emotional time.  They would give certain cards and then explain what the card meant.  Usually it was the way that person died.”   We also learned more about Indigenous culture throughout the time leading up to Treaty Days. Powwows are celebrations, social gatherings and friendly dance competitions. But, as with the sacred thread that runs through all of life, there are sacred traditions to be found in this coming together of people. ( George Anderson is a local community member and a member of Distant Thunder Drum group.  He sings, drums, and dances men grass dance.  His daughter Faith dances traditional shawl and jingle dress.  The students at Leila had an opportunity on February 25th 2015 to watch a Powwow demonstration with George, Faith, and their Powwow group.  The students all participated in the friendship dance. To continue this learning experience, we developed a Powwow club lead by Shannon Bear and Ricki Penner.  Every Monday the club meets to learn the styles and traditions associated with Powwow dancing.  Our club will be part of the Divisional Powwow this June and our club members are beginning to make their own regalia to wear at the Powwow. As Treaty Days began to approach all of the school bulletin boards were changed to reflect our celebration. We wanted the boards to provide information but also leave space for students to questions and respond to their growing understanding.  In a way of honoring the Indigenous culture we had the background of each bulletin board represent the colour and direction of the Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel. Below is a sampling of our many bulletin boards.      On Wellness Wednesday during Treaty Days our Guidance Counsellors invited students to fill up our bulletin board with their thoughts about their identity as we learned more about being Canadians on Treaty 1 land. We decided to start the week with an assembly to kick off our celebration and our learning. Alison Cox did an opening song Elder Mary Courchene did an opening prayer in Ojibwe Kevin Lamoureux spoke about the relationship between all Treaty people, and emphasized that we need to continue to nurture that relationship Commissioner Jamie Wilson of the Treaty Commission shared the history of the Treaties.     Finally, Mme Nickel’s Grade 7 French Immersion class presented a re-enactment of the signing of the Treaties in both French and English.  They did a spectacular presentation and provided a fantastic history lesson to the entire school. Then Treaty Days activities began with our many special guests and workshops. We offered over 80 different sessions that classrooms could participate in during the four days. Below you will find short biographies of the presenters and their sessions at our school. Miigwetch to all our guests.   Elder Mary Courchene​ Elder Mary has been part of Seven Oaks School Division for the past 8 years.  She is a retired educator with over 40 years of experience in the education field.  Elder Mary is a Wife, Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother.  Elder Mary’s story of residential schools is featured in the Museum of Human Rights.  Today Elder Mary loves to work with children and youth in her passion of sharing the importance of Indigenous ways of being. Elder Mary opened our Treaty Days assembly with a traditional prayer and shared the tradition of smudging with a classroom. From the students; "I think it’s important to learn about their culture because we promised so we have to do and it is nice share about other cultures” ​Elder Dan Thomas Elder Dan Thomas shared his knowledge on the pipe smoking ceremony during the signing of the treaties. From the students; “Learning with Elder Dan Thomas was nice.  We learned about this pipe and it’s used for putting tobacco to cleanse.” ​Elder Wayne Mason Elder Wayne is from Fisher River Cree Nation. His spirit name is Running Buffalo and he is part of the Turtle Clan.  Wayne is a father to 7 children, grandfather of 24 children, including Leila students Noah and Danae Mason, and has 2 great grandchildren.  He has a wonderful wife and has been in education for over 30 years. He has been part of ceremonies for over 20 years and is on his 22nd year of his Sundance ceremony. Elder Wayne shared his knowledge on the 7 teachings and the Indigenous medicines. From the students; “I learned there are seven teaching all of them are represented as spirit animals or in the feathers on the medicine wheel.” ​Commissioner Jamie Wilson Working with the communities to build relationships and mutual respect as we continue to bring the Treaties to the forefront of the minds of all Manitoban is a priority for the Commissioner of Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba. Commissioner Wilson is a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press and is regularly called upon by local and national media to comment on a wide range of First Nations issues. He is also a Traditionalist, who has long advocated for the equality of women in ceremony and in leadership. Jamie is married to Kristin Erickson and, together, they have three school-aged children. Life is nothing without a challenge which is why Wilson often quotes one of his old sergeants who said, “when you die, make sure it’s the last thing you have left to do.” Commissioner Wilson joined us at our opening assembly and spoke with classrooms during Treaty Days. ​Kevin Lamoureux Kevin Lamoureux is an instructor at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, a well-known speaker and a writer. Kevin was recently named Scholar in Residence and Divisional Day Speaker for the Seven Oaks School Division.  Kevin recently became a father, and his daughter Miina’s antics have become a regular part of his presentations. Kevin Lamoureux is helping people understand the role that culture, privilege, and poverty play in public schools. Kevin’s presentation, Canada, A Country of Partnership, was a success with all our Grade 8 students. From the students; “I learned that we are all Treaty people and I learned the First Nation’s stories and their ceremonies and traditions.” ​Rebecca Chartrand Rebecca Chartrand is Anishinaabe and Metis.  She grew up in Winnipeg.  Her father is from Treaty 4 and her mother from Treaty territory.  She is also a parent in Seven Oaks School Divison.  She won a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for a CD she made called Onjida which shares both Ojibwe and Haudeneshinee songs. Rebecca Chartrand is Teacher-Team Leader Aboriginal Education in Seven Oaks School Division. Rebecca shared her songs and hand drumming with the Leila students. From the students; “I learned a song and a lot about Ojibwe culture and traditions and about the Creator.” ​Lita Fontaine Lita is Artist in Residence for Seven Oaks School Division for the past 14 years.  Her spirit name is Mikinaak Ikwe (Turtle Woman) and she is part of the Turtle Clan.  Lita is Anishinaabe/Dakota. Lita believes in hands on art education, she loves making art, and loves working with children.  Lita believes the visual arts acts as a catharsis that nourishes emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual growth while making art.     Lita taught students how to create dream catchers and shared her knowledge that helped develop a deeper understanding of the dream catcher. From the students; “The web is like a spider web and the bead in the middle is the spider.  The spider was making the web of life and collecting your dreams.” ​Frank Beaulieu Frank currently teaches for the Seven Oaks Heritage Language program. Frank was a radio host for NCI.  He is a jack of all trades including Grass dancer, musician, and story teller.     Frank provided some basic Ojibwe language instruction for Leila students. From the students; “He was cool and funny ..AZHAA!!” “My favorite session was with Ojibwe Frank because now I get to say Ojibwe words and sentences.” ​Shayna Genaille from the Asham Stompers Shayna is part of the Asham Stompers. The Asham Stompers are a very high energy Jig and Square Dance group that bring fans to their feet EVERYWHERE they perform. Shayna was working in the gym teaching Traditional Metis jigging.  From the students; “It was really hard to get the moves right. I wanted to learn more about it.” ​Michael Manyeagles Michael is a Metis Soap Stone carver and is well known for his workshops in schools throughout the province. Michael led Soap Stone Carving workshops for 3 days at Leila. From the students; "J’aime beaucoup ce qu’on a fait pour ‘Treaty Days’.  J’ai appris beaucoup à propos les Traites et la culture des premières nations. Mon activité préférée était Soapstone Carving." ​Alison Cox Alison is Anishinnaabe and a Traditional First Nations Drum Carrier.  She has recruited and developed traditional singers and drummers for the past 15 years.  She founded a group called The Red Robe Women Drum Society Singers.  Red Robe recorded a CD and performed at the Junos.  Her passion is to teach through song and drum the history and stories of our people.  She is happy to meet all of you and share the rich cultural history of Manitoba and have FUN! Alison is a part of Seven Oaks CATEP and has worked at James Nisbet, West Kildonan, and Forest Park.     Alison workshop was a hands on drumming workshop where she shared the stories of the Treaties. From the students; “We learned about the different ceremonies with the drum and also the different responsibilities between girls and boys.  It was very interesting because we got to drum ourselves.” “At the beginning we had to watch a video and it was about Aboriginal children going to Residential schools.  It was an intense moment and I felt very disappointed because of all the things they had to go through.” ​Josh Eskin Josh works at Edmund Partridge school teaching guitar and fiddling.     Josh provided a fiddling workshop where Leila students had the opportunity to learn to fiddle! From the students; "Nous avons appris plusieurs choses cette semaine. Moi, j’ai appris comment jouer le ‘fiddle’! Une semaine d’apprentissage et de réflexion. Merci!" ​Sherri Denysuik Sherri is Vice-Principal of Maples Collegiate.  Sherri has always believed that sharing stories is an impactful and meaningful to gain knowledge.  Her students from the Maples joined us and helped us learn how to share our own stories.     Sherri and the Maples students were featured in the National Post.  The students and Sherri shared their experience of writing their personal stories and helped us continue to write our stories. From the students; “During Treaty Days I enjoyed when the four girls came because I’ve learned a lot and I enjoyed listening to their stories.” ​David Alexander Robertson David Robertson is an author of graphic novels. David wrote his first book, "The Bestest Poems I ever Sawed," in grade 3.  His realization that education could combat racism and sexism inspired him to write the graphic novel The Life of Helen Betty Osborne. He is an Aboriginal writer who lives in Winnipeg with his partner and three children. The author of Sugar Falls discussed his journey, growing up detached from Indigenous culture and its effect on him and how this led him to write graphic novels.  He then discussed his work, and in so doing discussed historical items such as the Treaties, Residential school system, and contemporary issues in Indigenous communities. From the students; "I learned that chasing your dreams no matter how big is important.  I also learned about how wrong most sterio-types are and how we should treat people better.” “The important thing I learned was his story.” Diane Nickel Diane Nickel is a twenty-year veteran of the teaching profession.  She currently teaches grade seven French immersion at Leila!  She has been instrumental in costuming the cast of Leila’s school plays.  Diane further displays her creativity as she guides her students through the diverse and multifaceted landscape we call “art.”  Diane developed her artistic talent by completing a class with Rebecca Chartrand and another at the University of Winnipeg. It was during these classes that she learned to do the birch bark painting that she has taught her students during the past three years.     Diane provided our students with the chance to explore birch bark art. Destiny Olson and Norma Bittern Destiny and Norma have been part of our community this year as EA practicum students from Urban Circle.  Destiny and Norma provided us with tipi teachings while building our own mini tipi during Treaty Days. From the students; “I learned that the Tipi is opened at the top so smoke can go out and not burn down and that the kids have to build the fire and watch it.” Peter Krahn Peter Krahn is Divisional Principal of Wayfinders. Pete loves working with children and youth, all of whom are smart, capable, and can contribute to our collective bright future. Pete taught us how the Medicine Garden was developed and helped us understand the Medicine Wheel while we baked Bannock over the open fire. From the students; “Well when I went to the circle place it was kind of fun and it was cold. I noticed that when we sit down there were words on the bench like the Seven Teachings words.” Grace Clarke-Redhead Grace is an education student. She taught our students how to bead and shared her skills and talents with us. A beading workshop was provided where we learned to bead using Indigenous styles and techniques. From the students; “I learned how to bead but it was hard and I poked my finger.”     We know that gift giving was an important part of celebrating Treaty Days. Our gift to Leila students was a key chain for each student. The students assembled their key chains.  This activity was done in the classroom and others made their key chains in the Tipi that was in front of our school during our Treaty Days celebration.  Students made key chains for our guests and our staff.   The key chains have significant meaning because they represented who we are as a community at Leila North.  The key chains were beaded with the four Indigenous colours, a blue bead to represent the Metis, an additional red and white bead as we are all Canadians, and finally our school colours black and yellow.      We celebrated on our last day of Treaty Days by enjoying cookies made by our students for our students.  The cookies were shaped like the number five.  The five was used to represent the $5 payment that all First Nations Treaty People receive yearly.  Along with the cookies students and staff read about the significance of the $5 using the write up attached.      The scene at each stop is essentially the same. People gather at the band hall or some other appropriate place and receive their annual treaty pay -- a princely sum of $5. It's a time-honoured ceremony. You walk up to the Agent or his equivalent, and he/she checks off your name and passes a $5 bill to an RCMP member dressed in formal red serge. The RCMP officer then passes the money to you and shakes your hand. This tradition goes back to the signing of the treaties. The $5 in treaty money annually meant that a family could purchase provisions for the coming winter. At the time of signing it was a valuable contribution to the well-being of First Nations people. The chief receives $20 and each headman gets $10. Today, First Nations treaty people still receive $5. While it buys much less now, the money represents an important link to our past and reminds us that our treaties are real. From time to time First Nations leaders point out that the treaties should be upgraded to a modern context and the $5 brought in line with modern reality. Comparing the cost of living of the late 1800s with the present would be an interesting exercise. More than half First Nations people today live and work off the reserve, and it's next to impossible for them to return home for Treaty Day. In order to accommodate this population, Treaty Day is now held in the larger cities. For a person to return to the reserve for Treaty Day and collect $5, it would cost more than $50 in gasoline. Somehow the economics don't make sense. Our Treaty Days were very successful.  We accomplished our goals throughout the week but recognize new goals that we believe are important for our community at Leila North.  Our new goals include developing continuity to our Indigenous initiatives throughout the school year and throughout each classroom.  This would allow Treaty Days to be a celebration and sharing of year-long learning.  A second goal would be to continue to grow a deeper level of understanding among our students and staff of the history and culture of Indigenous people.  A final goal is to continue to celebrate Treaties including the ongoing reciprocal relationship that impacts our lives as Canadians.