This week, the DAREarts First Roots team has travelled to Tuktoyaktuk, a hamlet of a thousand people that sits near the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories. Greeted by an eager community of students, Elders, teachers, musicians and volunteers, DAREarts’ Cathy Elliott and Laura MacKinnon will be spending this week with children aged 9 – 19 at Mangilaluk School. The students have a special DARE ahead of them: tell the world the values that are most important to them!
Gathering in a circle on Monday, the children were enraptured as Cathy sang her Circle Song! Access to the arts is very limited in their school, and they knew right away that they were in for a special week of new experiences. Laura then explained how they will use the DARE values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility, and Excellence to put on a public show for all of Tuktoyaktuk this Friday! By the end of the day, they had chosen the values that would be central to their story-telling: Love and Caring.
On Tuesday, the students wrote four stories with the help of the community’s Elders. The Elders shared their own passion for the arts: how the arts bring meaning to life and can be used to preserve and share culture. The stories are imaginative and relevant:
Shaman follows Michael, a troublemaker who gets a job with the RCMP so that he can find his own inner leader;
Seal looks at the difficult choice a seal must make so that a bear may live, demonstrating selflessness and caring;
Caribou Man & the Hunter shows two men learning to settle their differences and word together, ultimately becoming friends;
and Mangilaluk, where a chief with a long memory uses the Drum Dance to heal his people from sickness of the soul.
Wednesday, the focus changed to the logistics of putting on a performance. When the high schoolers stepped up to mentor and lead the younger students, much was accomplished. By the end of the day, the bulk of preparations were well underway, including the screen building, handmade marketing materials and puppets to tell the stories! Cameras were also distributed, giving students jobs as production photographers. Together, the students named their show “Nation’s Creations”.
While there is still more work to be done, we can’t wait to see their ideas in action at ‘Nation’s Creations’!