Grade Six students from across the Algoma District School Board and the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board had the opportunity to celebrate Education Day at Algoma University on Wednesday. This event, hosted by the University’s Anishinaabe Initiatives team, marks a unique co-operation between both the school boards and Algoma U, collaborating with Ontario’s Grade Six curriculum, where students learn about the Anishinaabe culture.
In order to better understand Anishinaabe culture and heritage, the University invited students from across the Algoma region to take part in a variety of traditional and contemporary events – such as learning basic phrases in the Ojibwe language, trapping, drumming, history, dancing, birch bark and tobacco teachings, and more – which foster a better understanding of Indigenous people.
“This is a way for Algoma University to contribute to the community to bring them to our campus to kind of show them around Algoma University and have an interest in the university, but also to teach them about our culture,” said Melissa Agawa, Anishinaabe Cultural and Social Program Coordinator for Algoma University. “This is an important way to get grade sixes thinking about the community and Anishinaabe culture and traditions and teachings so that they can also learn in their classrooms and try to incorporate it into their curriculum as well.”
James Agnew, a Gr. 6-7 teacher at Northern Heights, is a newcomer to this event. He told SaultOnline he thinks this is an important addition to the curriculum.
“It’s giving another cultural identity a voice,” he said. “And it’s also teaching our children the importance of culture and respecting culture and understanding where they themselves have come from as well, because no matter what culture they’re a part of, we’re all a part of Canada and our histories have all combined into the great story of this nation. So I think it’s just interesting that they get to see another piece of that puzzle.”
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