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Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

DAREarts returns to Marten Falls FN

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Our Learning Circle – what Love Teaches Us

While flying from Nakina to Ogoki Post yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat (if you can call it that, it was more like yelling above the plane engine) about arts education in the North with a man who is, not only a First Nations Jazz Musician, but a systems consultant who travels around the communities and sees what goes on up here.  He was talking about the state of flux, the pressures, the economic challenges, and most of all, the children.
What he said next took my breath away. “What you are doing is going to make the changes that will affect these communities the most.  You have the power to do that.  Because you’re coming back, building relationships, and sticking to your promises, you have the ability to inspire real change. That’s what artists do, in every society. We need you.  Don’t stop what you’re doing.”
I was, personally, humbled by what he said.  Hearing it on a plane flying into a community I’ve come to really love, is truly encouraging.  It’s always hard, not knowing what you’re going to fly into.  There could be bad weather, no room at the Inn, your food could be stuck as overage in Thunder Bay…the list goes on.  But hearing this man’s encouraging words makes me feel so good.
When I met up with Linda Carson and Principal Louise Bailey along with the teachers Cindi Sauders, Caitland Harding who would be working with us, it was in the glow of candles and flashlights. With plummeting temperatures, the strain on the grid is great, causing power outages.  We could be experiencing this for the rest of the week before it warms up a little.  When this happens, sometimes the school closes because it doesn’t heat up enough for classes.  Fortunately, the power came on around half an hour into our meeting.  We come in, experience this as a novelty.  It’s more than a novelty for the families who live here. This is life in the North.  
Ogoki Post DAY 1
-45C. Without the wind chill.  The busses ran.  The kids walked to school.  Down south, the school day would have been cancelled. There is heat! And we have our own room!  The library has been converted into a special room for us to work in, and it’s great to have a quiet place to play.

The teachers here are GOLD.  Caitland and Cindi were with us the whole day, and when they took their classes back to their rooms, they built a class on what they learned with DAREarts.   The students are respectful, having a lot of fun.  Linda’s games are going over really well.  The kids are responding with energy and really playing fair.  They’ve completely committed to the Grandfather Teaching of Love and we’ll be starting the tough stuff tomorrow- brainstorming, writing a story, a song and artwork.  We did a bit of looping today on Garage Band and will continue to build tracks for Lee to work with when he gets here to do B-Boy and B-Girl dancing.

There are kids here who are so shy. Some of them don’t like to talk much, but rise to the challenge of being heard.  Of knowing they have the right to be heard. It’s seeing these young people walk into a room not knowing what they’re going to encounter.  The courage to try, fail and succeed.  To rise to the DARE.

This is what the students told teacher Ms. Caitland they learned today.
Now, time to walk to the Ogoki Inn in that incredible -45 walk!
-Til Tomorrow, Cathy and Linda, DAREarts Teaching Team

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