It was a day filled with creativity, fine art, music and drama as MFNERC celebrated its first annual Festival of the Arts with students, teachers and guests from seven First Nations. Schools across the province held their own festivals earlier in the year, and then submitted to MFNERC for the chance to attend the provincial gathering in Winnipeg. Seven schools were chosen from: Poplar River, Nelson House, Garden Hill, Pinaymootang, Fox Lake, God’s Lake Narrows and Lake St. Martin First Nations.
Involvement in the arts is associated with all kind of gains in the academic, social, cultural and personal lives of students. From doodles and finger painting to poetry and dance, the arts allow young people of all ages to express themselves in new and different ways, to explore their imaginations without boundaries. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the Festival. Displays of art and culture decorated the room and throughout the first half of the day each school offered their own creative presentation. A quartet of Fox Lake students sang the national anthem in Cree, students from Nelson House presented a short play on bullying, Lake St. Martin students showcased different countries’ cultures, and three young people from Pinaymootang danced a jig.
The second half of the day allowed students the opportunity to try different creative activities. Mini-workshops on drawing, storytelling, traditional games, and writing were taught by professionals in their respective fields. There were even a couple of caricature artists on hand who not only drew portraits, but answered many insightful questions about their art and work.
It was an absolutely fabulous event, and a huge thank you and congratulations to everyone involved – students, schools, MFNERC staff and guests. We cannot wait to see what next year holds.