Members of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation, including Elders Terry Skead, and Jeanette Skead as well as Wendy Kuczma and Micaiah Skead, were honoured and thanked by Kenora Catholic Trustees at the November 19th Board Meeting for a long-standing partnership and friendship that spans over 12 years of Kenora Catholic students participating in the Fall Harvest.
Each fall Elders and community members from Wauzhushk Onigum Nation prepare various stations that students can visit such as teepee set up, drumming, bannock making and roasting, as well as wild rice processing and fish filleting demonstrations. Students also get to learn about the Anishinaabe culture with storytelling, Elder Center activities, including beading, pow wow regalia explanations and traditional use of sacred items such as sage and sweet grass. The day starts with opening ceremonies in the roundhouse with 'The Welcoming' Elder Prayer and Drum Opening. Students make a tobacco offering to the Creator and learn about the important ways of being respectful within the sacred roundhouse. The day includes a traditional fall stew for lunch.
Trustee Jeffrey White made a presentation to the guests in the Anishinaabe language thanking them for the opportunities gifted to Kenora Catholic students and wishing everyone a good life. Teresa Gallik, Chair of the Board, followed with a heartfelt thank you for the many years of friendship, hospitality and partnership.
"On behalf of the Kenora Catholic District School Board, our teachers and students, administration and my fellow trustees, we would like to thank Wauzhushk Onigum Nation and all the community members for the incredible learning opportunities that you have provided our students over the past 12 years," said Teresa Gallik, Board Chair in her presentation. "The tradition of the Fall Harvest is something that our students look forward to where they learn valuable life skills such as making bannock, harvesting food, and building a wigwam shelter. One of the most important aspects of the Fall Harvest is the time spent in the Roundhouse at Pow Wow Island, where our students learn from Elders and listen to the drumming. It's a truly authentic experience that gives children the opportunity to learn about First Nation culture and teachings. Thank you for the gifts of friendship, hospitality, partnership and learning that you have provided to hundreds of Kenora Catholic students over the past 12 years."
Since 2007, students at Kenora Catholic have been invited to Wauzhushk Onigum Nation to take part in the Fall Harvest.
As part of Kenora Catholic's Northern Studies program, students in Grades 4 – 5 explore the traditions and activities of First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the region with hands-on learning opportunities. The program helps develop an understanding of the cultural significance in the Treaty #3 area and acceptance for people of all nations.