Ginew School held its 17th Annual Gathering of Friends in Roseau River on May 17th. The event promotes cultural awareness, pride, and education for those in the community and from surrounding area schools. Kids from neighbouring towns spent the day in the First Nation, where the school hosted a day packed with activities, workshops, and even a powwow. Students watched different dancers and styles of dancing, enjoyed the regalia, and heard the various drum songs.
Ron Alexander, a community member and school volunteer at Ginew School, said about the event, “It has grown every year, I think this is the largest one so far. I believe the kids have taken some of this learning home with them; they seem to enjoy what they learn here. For me, I already know what’s happening around here,” he says, motioning to the cultural workshop rooms, “but to be able to teach the young ones about these things, it makes me feel good. Like we’ve accomplished something for the future generations.”
Elder Wilfred Buck, aka “The Star Guy,” was in attendance with his portable planetarium, and he taught the kids about the different constellations and their origins and meanings, which vary for different Indigenous Peoples. Piper, a Grade 7 student from Ecole Parkside, seemed to enjoy this workshop especially. “It was very cool! The planetarium is my favourite part so far! We learned about the constellations, the difference between the Greek people and the Indigenous Peoples’ constellations.” A few Grade 5 students were excited to learn about treaties, leather imprinting, and traditional stick games.
One little boy stole the hearts of the powwow audience—Gabe, a Grade 2 student from Ginew School, danced, sang, and drummed his heart out at the powwow. He danced to each of the men’s dances and drummed in the circle, and he was beaming with pride. Once the powwow was over, he was sitting with his family in the cafeteria room. When asked what inspires him to drum and dance so passionately, he said, “Dancing makes me feel respected and happy, it makes me feel really good in my bones. No one taught me how to do the dances yet, I just go out and dance. My favourite is Grass, Traditional and Fancy. I feel respectful when I’m drumming. I like to drum with my uncle and grandpa and cousins.”
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