Nov 05, 2014
by Valerie Allan
Five NAEC students attended the 7th annual Four Winds Festival of Aboriginal Cultures on October 29. at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. The students were escorted by Mrs. Sproule, who is from the Chippewaas of Georgina Island.
Students attended a variety of workshops. Emma Fuller and Mackenzie Johnson (M.J.) attended an Ojibwe Traditions workshop, where they received a bracelet and learned about traditional ways to greet people and to pray. They also participated in a Corn Husk Doll Making workshop, and came away with a corn husk doll they had made themselves. Emma enjoyed some traditional stories in Algonquin Story-telling, while M.J. made a wampum belt in the Wampum Belt workshop. She also learned that on a traditional Wampum Belt, the owner had to remember the story associated with every single bead.
Madison Lloyd, Mackenzie Wilson and Luc Desrosiers did some high energy Metis Jigging. The workshop leaders taught them that it was important to use the traditional names, rather than the names used by colonialists. They reported that they learned that there was no Metis word for “goodbye” or “thank you”. They said the workshop was packed with learning opportunities and they really enjoyed it. The three students also attended a hand-drumming workshop, in which there was vocalization accompanying the drumming, but no actual words. They were taught that hand-drumming with vocalization is a form of prayer.
Madison and Mackenzie went to the Social Dancing workshop, where they learned about types of dance and their social significance. Luc went to a Sacred Medicine workshop, where he learned that the Medicine Wheel encompassed life’s cycle, starting with East and moving through South and West and ending with North. He also learned that native peoples use sage, sweetgrass and tobacco as medicine, and learned how to make cedar tea. Cedar tea is to help breathing and stress, and is made by boiling water, adding a cedar stick, and letting it steep for 10 minutes.
Students were able to attend the conference because of funding provided by the Limestone Board of Education. Unfortunately, a lot of secondary students were on a science field trip, so were unable to attend, so the festival was opened up to some elementary students. All participants said that it had been a great learning experience, and that they would love to go next year. NAEC is hoping that a greater number will be able to attend next year.