One Class at a Time
It was a smaller class today. Only seventeen kids. Grades four/five. We started with a discussion about Canada’s north. What kinds of impressions do southern kids have about that distant region? Up shoot the hands. Inukshuk. Arctic wolves. Whales. Sled dogs.
Who lives up there? What else is up there? One kids said, “Cities.” Well, maybe in Russia… “Villages.” Closer. What is life like for kids their age? Where do they get their food?
The questions raise more questions, and most of them are correct. A lot of credit must go to their teacher, Elizabeth Scott, who taught in Kasheshewan for three years in the late 80’s. She brought back with her a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the kinds of conditions the kids up there live and learn in.
I pulled out my guitar and sang for them a song that had been written by students their age in my home territory, Indian Brook First Nation, Nova Scotia. (our official name is now, Sipekne’katik – Ground nut/wild potato land – I’m still trying to learn how to pronounce it.) The song is about Courage, one of the 7 Sacred Teachings. “Melkikno’ti” is a universally themed song that the Indian Brook kids made a video for this past June. It’s up on YouTube, along with a karaoke version of the song.
The kids, once they started drawing their icebergs asked me to sing the song again. This time around, they started singing along. I couldn’t believe it. The third time around, I heard more voices and looked at Ms. Scott. We had the idea at the same time. The students from Princess Elizabeth Public School will learn Melkikno’ti. Who knows? Maybe they’ll record their own version as an answer to the LSK children challenge to “Pass the Torch” of courage.
Thank you, Princess Elizabeth P.S. for your beautiful cards and voices on behalf of Canadian Aboriginal students and teachers!
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And if you’re in the Orangeville area, you can find them at The Orangeville Theatre Upper Level during performances. BookLore, 121 First Street ON L9W 3J8 (519)942-3830
The Alton Mill 1402 Queen St RR 1, Alton, ON L7K 0C3, (519)941-9300