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Language & Culture

Principles of Oral Language Immersion and Teaching Dene Morphology

Presenter: Agnes Carlson, MFNERC

Audience: language instructors, educational assistants, learners of a new language, educational leaders

We are currently seeing an important shift in language efforts in many First Nations, as we often hear “our” languages being spoken during cultural events throughout the year. At this workshop, we will share language-learning strategies, specifically for teaching Dene morphology. These methods are directly utilized at summer language camps, and in culture transmission. The benefits of language camps teach young children to understand the way of our people and to lead them into Houzu eghenai.
We will also demonstrate how to create language scripts, as this is the basis for teaching Dene morphology.

Aboriginal Games and Co-operative Activities

Presenter: Blair Robillard

Audience: all

Have fun learning and exploring traditional values that are built on a foundation of respect. In this workshop, participants will learn about the diverse applications of traditional First Nations games and co-operative activities. The benefits of such activities will also be discussed, including the low to no cost of all games and activities and how they are applicable to all academic fields and curricula. The circle teachings applied to the games and activities encourage the use of holistic teachings. They also can be used for self, team and support staff assessments.

Fun, Interactive Ways to Learn Native Languages Using Handheld Devices

Presenter: Don Thornton, Thornton Media

Audience: educators, students, anyone interested in using technology to bring languages back into homes where they belong

We will introduce participants to our elegant language & culture apps, specifically made for Indigenous languages of Canada and the U.S. Our apps are beautifully tailored to each First Nation we work with and can be used for many types of language-learning programs including immersion, in-school, after-school and master/apprentice.
At this conference we will debut our new Storybook Grammar App (for Maskwacis Cree). The app – titled “Maskosis Goes To School” – uses professionally animated characters to help teach the language patterns (grammar) of Cree.
Thornton Media is a pioneer in the field and has worked with over 200 Native communities. In Canada we have created apps for Anishnaabemowin, Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Cayuga, Blackfoot, Saulteaux and many more.

Rediscovering Indigenous Identity

Presenters: Debra Beach Ducharme, Marsha Missyabit and Margaret Hart

Audience: middle years and high school teachers, resource teachers, counselors

How do you begin the process of helping young people discover who they are in a way that is meaningful, respectful and supports an Indigenous world-view? This interactive workshop will help instructors and teachers use hands-on activities to assist young people in discovering the gift of being First Nations. Three practical exercises will be shared to assist students on this journey of self-discovery: the gifts you are born with, your family, and life experiences. Be prepared to participate!

Nakiskamohtahowin: A Cree Sexual Health Glossary

Presenters: Albert McLeod, Cultural Adaptation Services and Margaret Poitras, All Nations Hope Network

Audience: teachers, language teachers

The language, social skills and identities of young people can be strengthened when they are instructed in their traditional language. Learning about Cree words that describe sex biology and behaviours can be fun and informative. Linking the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and sexual aspects of life is a holistic approach to mino-pimatisiwin.
The learning objectives of this workshop are threefold: to inform educators about Cree words that can be used to discuss sexual health, to strengthen the Cree cultural paradigm through the promotion of the Cree language, and to link the Cree language to land-based and spiritual belief systems.

Thanadelthur (aka “Slave Woman”): A Dene Woman who Contributed to the Hudson Bay Company

Presenters: Lucy Antsanen and Jennifer Williams, MFNERC

Audience: education leaders, educators, educational support workers, historians, anyone who wants to learn about Manitoba history

This workshop will explore the story of Thanadelthur, how she contributed to Canadian history, and how she negotiated peace between the Dene and Cree. Through examining the life of Thanadelthur we will discuss who the Dene people are and what it means to be Dene. We will also demonstrate how shared stories of Aboriginal groups, families and Elders enrich personal and family history, and how knowing our history, and knowing where we come from, can help us to be stronger people in the future.

Developing a First Nations Curriculum Framework (FNCF) in Manitoba

Presenters: Violet Okemaw and the Research & Development Team, MFNERC

Audience: classroom teachers, principals, education directors, community members

For many decades, First Nations have desired culturally appropriate curricula; curricula informed and written by First Nations. Grounded in our stories, our languages and our ways, the FNCF and support documents will provide First Nations resources for culturally appropriate programming for classroom instruction. Our own cultural curriculum can help in the positive development of our children’s identities, and help First Nations on our common path of hope, where First Nations education is once again firmly in the hands of First Nations people.
MFNERC’s Research and Development team implemented a three-part advisory process with First Nations to gather data and develop the first drafts of the First Nations Curriculum Framework (FNCF). Currently, research facilitators are conducting individual community meetings to introduce and get feedback on the draft FNCF. This session will provide background information, as well as current and upcoming FNCF curriculum development activities.

Language & Culture Teachings

Presenters: William Dumas, Melody Dumas, Stella Young, MFNERC

Audience: language teachers, First Nations Studies teachers

This workshop will examine how to set up an effective language teaching classroom, as well as resources that teachers can develop into units and lesson plans. A one- year plan can be developed using the annual seasons of a community that highlights when to teach specific units. We will also be touching on how to use technology that is available in your school to produce resources and posters.

Youth & Elders Panel

Presenter: TBA

Audience: all

This workshop will be an opportunity to hear perspectives from some of our outstanding youth and Elders as to what “the good life” means to them in the 21st Century. Come and listen to their stories, their understandings and how they themselves live the good life!

Awasissak Oschi (For the Children)

Presenter: Don Robertson

Audience: all

This oral presentation will look at the place of children at home and in the community. It will address a child’s place in culture and the traditional way of life, including how support was provided. Time permitting, it will also emphasize the need to build a strong family foundation as an important part of ensuring a successful education experience for children.

Collaboration and Connections: Hands-on Activities and Online Support and Resources for Teachers

Presenters: Shelley MacDonald, Artie Martin and John Scully, The Royal Conservatory

Audience: teachers, principals, education directors

Do you want your students to experience classroom instruction in new and powerful ways– where they are at the center of learning? Where thought replaces memory regurgitation and emotional responses and personal experiences of students replace a worksheet? In this collaborative workshop we will provide access to culturally appropriate online tools and resources to help build knowledge and understanding with peers from other Indigenous communities who are experiencing similar challenges and successes incorporating their traditional languages and culture to the school curriculum. Our media-based program connects teachers with Indigenous Elders and artists through interactions in a virtual learning environment to explore relevant educational issues, curriculum and traditional Indigenous values in a contemporary world. For the hands-on portion of this workshop, we will be connecting with Elder Nk’xetko online, a member of the Ntle’kepmx Nation (one of five Interior Salish tribes in central B.C.), modelling the digital interactions that this innovative program offers to expand the range of creative learning opportunities that are possible for Indigenous communities.

Holding the Feather: Giving Youth Space

Presenters: Pablo Joseph, Shaun Elder and Shelley MacDonald, The Royal Conservatory

Audience: teachers, principals, education directors

Drawing on the recent experiences of students and teachers in Oxford House First Nation, this workshop will lead educators in an exploration of what it means for students to hold the feather – take ownership of their work and contribute to their peers’ learning. Teachers will explore how to give students permission to bring their voices forward; how to structure learning so as to give a place of importance to every learner’s perspective and contribution; and how to encourage student leadership and collaboration. 
The medium through which this learning process is explored is digital music creation. Educators will explore an innovative iPad application developed by The Royal Conservatory of Music, YouthBeat, which provides a variety of tools to support student-led learning and creativity. This workshop – and the YouthBeat program itself – are intended to add music to the toolkit of generalist teachers. No musical training or formal knowledge is required for this workshop or for the program itself. YouthBeat provides a safe and stimulating environment for students to explore self-expression, exercise self-management, and for creative collaboration with their peers. It can be offered both as an in-class and after school offering. It supports extensions to literacy and numeracy as well as language and culture. In this hands-on workshop participants will explore this app and how to apply its instructional elements to their current teaching practice.

Early Years Games with a First Nations Perspective

Presenters: John Monias, Lorrain Harper and Tanya Dawn McDougall

Audience: teachers, educational assistants

This workshop will overview some games that incorporate First Nations perspectives when working with children. The presenters offer many years of experience working with First Nations children in the early years.

Ojibwe Bilingual School Seven Oaks School Division

Presenters: Rebecca Chartrand, Gloria Barker and Kim Guimond

Audience: all

This session will offer an overview of the events that led to the opening of the K-3 Ojibwe bilingual school. It will include teacher insight on the making of an Ojibwe bilingual program, lessons learned, and suggestions for other educators.

Creating Community Awareness for Young Children (Come Network, Plan and Create!)

Presenters: Bev Morrisseau, Crane River, Mindy Sinclair and Jessica Chisholm, MFNERC

Audience: early years educators

Each of our First Nations is unique, and we live, play and work within our individual communities. While children grow and develop they are learning about the world around them. This workshop will provide the opportunity to create community-based activities that teach children about their individual First Nation. There will also be an opportunity to network, share ideas and build on one another’s creativity in teaching early learners.  

The Languages and Cultures Department comprises nearly 65 staff with a wide range of skills, talents, and abilities available to support First Nations school staff and students. Staff members consist of teachers, language experts, Knowledge Keepers, support staff, and academics. These staff represent years of experience teaching First Nations languages and many have experience as school administrators and mentors. The Department’s Staff uses a multidisciplinary approach to support First Nations by facilitating large and small group meetings, often delivered through online or onsite professional development. The professional development opportunities provided cover many topics requested by First Nations schools. The primary focus is to ground the Department’s practices in the languages and cultures of the member communities.

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