By Kelly Crawford
M’CHIGEENG FN – When First Nations kids do history projects, they’re learning about themselves.
“I am really impressed with the quality of projects and how knowledgeable the students are,” said Wayne Hugli as he toured 30 exhibits at the KTEI Regional Heritage Fair at Lakeview School.
Hugli is Ontario Heritage Fair Association Coordinator. “When they are looking for a topic they often choose something close to home,” he says. “Connection to self and topic is key. They learn about themselves. This is an opportunity to share their story.”
Students from Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng, Shawanosowe School (Whitefish River FN), St. Joseph’s Anishnabek School (Sheshegwaning FN) and Biidaaban Kinoomagegamik (Sagamok Anishnawbek) proudly displayed their projects on May 5.
“I dance for my grandparents, my health and my fitness,” explained Avery Sutherland, Shawanosowe School, who, along with classmates Ava Owl and Carter McGregor were winners of the Founder Award for their project on traditional dance.
Dallas Corbiere and Caleb Blackbird (Lakeview School) also won a Founder’s Award for their display about maple syrup.
“We knew a lot about it,” said Dallas. “It is in our heritage. I have my own sugar bush so I could use my knowledge.” Corbiere and Blackbird developed a YaKit video describing the maple syrup process.
Multicultural History Society Award winners, Sarah Migwans-Bayer and Caiylee Ense (Lakeview School) focussed their project on the residential school system, “It is intergenerational. It is still affecting us. If we weren’t sent to residential schools we wouldn’t be speaking English.”
Topics ranged from personal connection to the students’ connection to knowledge. Jenna Visitor, Whitefish River, focussed her project on Ancient Egypt. “I decided to choose Ancient Egypt because I wanted to learn about hieroglyphics and inventions.”
Best Overall Exhibit – Tara Hoppe, Lakeview School
Ontario Women’s History Network – Julian Trudeau, Biidaaban School
Archives of Ontario Award – Oha Cada and Niihge McLeod, Lakeview School
Genealogical Society Award – Trinity Simon and Josephine Sagon
Multicultural History Society Award – Caiylee Ense and Sarah Migwans-Bayer, Lakeview School
Historical Thinking Award – Leanne McGregor, Shawanosowe School
Library Association Award – Jenna Visitor, Shawanosowe School
Reading and Remembrance Award – Nathan Bush and Joel Trudeau, Lakeview School
Historical Society Award – Sterling McGregor, Shawanosowe School
Founder’s Award – Tori Toulouse, Shawanosowe School
Founder’s Award – Caleb Blackbird and Dallas Corbiere, Lakeview School
Founder’s Award – Ava Owl, Avery Sutherland & Carter McGregor, Shawanosowe School
The Heritage Fairs Program is a multi-media initiative developed to increase public awareness and interest in Canadian history. Across Ontario there are 16 fairs taking place. The KTEI Fair at Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng First Nation was the only one on Manitoulin Island. Coordinated by the First Nation Student Success Program through KTEI, this Regional Fair provides an opportunity to showcase student success.
Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of eight First Nation community representatives in the Manitoulin-North shore area and is centrally located in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island – Mnidoo Mnising. In the Ojibwe language, “Kenjgewin Teg” means “a place of knowledge”.
For more information on the KTEI Regional Heritage Fair please contact Evan Farquhar, FNSSP Data Management and Logistics Coordinator at FNSSPData@ktei.net
Kelly Crawford, M’Chigeeng First Nation, coordinates the Transitions Program at Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute.