LTF 2016 Recap

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LTF 2016 Recap

With “A New Era: Cultural Renaissance in Indigenous Education” as the theme for MFNERC’s annual Lighting the Fire Education Conference, day one’s opening ceremonies got underway with an exciting Grand Entry and moving keynote address by Dr.Cindy Blackstock.

Dr. Cindy Blackstock

Dr. Cindy Blackstock

Dr. Blackstock inspired everyone with stories about Shannen’s Dream, Jordan’s Principle, and her (and First Nations children’s) recent victory at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. “No First Nations child should be denied what every other child in Canada has.”

Weaving Strength into Our Students

Weaving Strength into Our Students

Timely discussions, knowledge sharing, and bringing First Nations educators together into a larger community are three goals of the LTF conference. And as the workshops got underway on day one, it was clear that the over 800 delegates were eager to learn. At the Weaving Strength into Our Students workshop, a packed room of participants was taught the step-by-step process of weaving medicine pouches with cedar, as well as the traditional customs of the Kwakwa’la speaking people of British Columbia. Many mental health workshops were also well attended, including Mental Health First Aid First Nations, presented by Mental Health First Aid Canada.

Day two of the conference dawned bright and early, and kicked off with readings from the winners of the Lighting the Fire student essay contest.
Sienna Traverse of Jackhead First Nation and Zak Gott of Chemawawin First Nation both presented their winning essays and each received a laptop for their first place finishes. The topic for the contest was cultural renaissance, and both students spoke about the pride they feel in being Indigenous and the hope they have for the futures. It was the perfect way to set the stage for the morning’s keynote address by Leah Gazan. Leah spoke passionately about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and encouraged everyone that, “We all live under the same sky and we are all responsible for each other.”

Student essay winners Zak and Sienna

Student essay winners Zak and Sienna

Then it was time for more networking and shopping at the tradeshow during the lunch hour before afternoon workshops got underway. Many workshops were again filled to capacity. Among these were Relating Food to Education with Food Matters Manitoba; Keeping Kids Safe Online with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection; and Through the Eyes of the Child presented by MFNERC Early Learning Facilitator, Jessica Chisholm.

Circle of Courage Leadership Program

Circle of Courage Leadership Program

Friday at LTF was non-stop workshops, and participants were eager to learn and share as much as possible on the conference’s final day. Once again workshops were filled to capacity and discussions were pertinent and engaging.
At the Red Rising Magazine workshop, four young people from the Red Rising Collective talked about the project and how it is being used as a tool to raise the voices of Indigenous youth. Down the hall, many people took part in a yoga workshop, focusing on health and wellness. Meanwhile, Rosely Booth and Alberto Mansilla of MFNERC, kept participants engaged with many hands-on science activities in their Cracking the Code workshop. And, at the nearby Circle of Courage Leadership Program workshop, students offered an overview of the program and how it helps to build strong, young, Indigenous leaders.

With that, on Friday afternoon, MFNERC’s annual Lighting the Fire Education Conference was complete. On behalf of MFNERC, we’d like to extend a huge thank you, meegwetch, ekosi and merci to each and every one who participated and presented at our conference. What an inspiring time it was. We can’t wait to see you next year!

View LTF photos in our photo gallery.

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