Wayfinders students have been fortunate enough to participate in a cultural credit on the land learning since September 2016. These students have had the opportunity to go out to New Beginnings Lodge in Brokenhead bimonthly. The students have had the opportunity to learn from knowledge keepers from the Manitoba community. They have learned about the significance of the drum and the responsibility that comes with being a drum keeper. The students than made their own hand drums and took them into the sweatlodge where they feasted and blessed. They have also been learning songs in the language as well as the meaning of the songs collectively.
The students built two sweat lodges for the administrators of Seven Oaks to sweat at the New Beginnings Lodge in Libau. They were super proud and put so much love into creating them. The students will also sweat in them. While preparing the lodges they learned the teachings that go along with making them. The divisional sweat lodge at the Circle garden was also built by our students along side our Elder in Residence Dan Thomas. They went to the bush and picked the trees out, cleaned them, went out to a rock quarry and picked the rocks, made the altar and built the sweat, which included lots of math as well as roles.
The students of Wayfinders continue to participate in the community with The Bear Clan Patrol. The Bear Clan is volunteered-based community patrol within the inner-city of Winnipeg. While The Bear Clan patrol is only volunteer members over the age of 18, Wayfinders have been allowed to participate in a youth patrol night on Tuesdays that start earlier in the evening and end earlier . Students often engage with community members and families while patrolling, searching, safely discarding of drug paraphernalia, and providing care packages for the homeless community. Wayfinder students have gained a sense of pride and protective stature from The Bear Clan Patrol and a real sense of giving back to the community as well as their role in being a community member.
The Teenage Bears drum group raised money to go on a cultural experience to the United States but plans had to change, so we decided to have a cultural exchange in British Columbia. We departed that Thursday, and began our exciting journey. We had the opportunity to explore Banff, Alberta, stopped in Kamloops, BC to stop at Painted Pony and tried their bannock tacos, drove down the Coquihalla Highway, attended a youth gathering conference for 2 and half days, due to error in location of the conference we were so close to Vancouver, we were able to visit the city and attend a Vancouver Canucks game, we went to visit the Four Directions school Drum group where we exchanged songs, sang together , and had a bon fire and then headed to Edmonton, AB to end it off with exploring West Edmonton Mall. We drove a lot kilometers, hours on the road, great conversation, great food, a lot of exploration, getting lost and finding places we did not think to stop at, we met a lot of different people, shared stories and experiences, and missing home, all in 6 nights and 7 days, 7th being the longest as we arrived home in Winnipeg at 4am that Friday.
Over the past six months students at Wayfinders have been collaborating with Indigenous creative professionals from the Winnipeg area to explore their voices and share their stories. Students have learned the basics of story structure, script writing, and personal narratives from writers Darla Contois and Jordan Wheeler. Equipped with these new story-telling skills, students began the process of working them into functional film scripts under the guidance of Roger Boyer of Koj-B Films. Roger and the students will complete their first short film in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to the Wayfinders website and our social media accounts for opportunities to see their finished film!