Seven Oaks Adult Learning Centre
This year 7 Oaks ALC started our very own Pow Wow Club! We have had the honour of working with Doug Harney who has offered his teachings on a variety of subjects related to traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices. Our club is unique too. We offer the opportunity for our adult students to participate with their children allowing knowledge and experience to be shared through generations.
Students have learned about the seven sacred teachings, the medicine wheel, the importance of drums, types of drums and songs, different songs to play together as a group, and have learned about the Clan system and self-governance. Students are looking forward to building hand drums and sewing regalia for the upcoming Graduation Pow Wow in June. For some, it’s their first ever Pow Wow!
Indigenous education and perspectives is often integrated into course work at 7 Oaks ALC. Many courses cover material including access to Indigenous writers, artists, concepts and spiritual practices and importance of land and water.
Each semester, students at the ALC have the opportunity to participate in the Blanket Activity. It is a powerful learning experience that impacts their understanding of the history of Canada, the concept of Truth and Reconciliation, and the meaning of “We are All Treaty People.” Reflecting through sharing circles and journaling has helped students make their leaning meaningful.
Students have learned about Norval Morriseau and other indigenous artists involved in the Woodlands style, and have made dream catchers in art class. In English classes, students have had the opportunity to experience different texts such as “Secret Path” a graphic novel illustrated by Jeff Lemire and album written by Gord Downie, a variety of works by author Richard Wagamese like For Joshua and Keeper ‘N Me, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Shermaine Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney, and the short story “Charlie” by Lee Maracle, to name a few.
Finally, in Current Topics in First Nations, Metis, and Inuit studies, students gain a grasp of Canadian history and see how key historical events in the formation of Canada have led to some of the major issues facing the First Nations people of Canada at the present. With basic human rights being a topical subject on the news, there is ample opportunities to approach subjects such as clean water, land rights, health care from an Indigenous perspective to help our students gain a sense of what is important to Indigenous peoples and to get a sense of the plethora of issues they face in both Canada and the United States.