Spring Break! Tips for Recharging from Ensouling Our Schools

Spring break is right around the corner, and is a time for both you and your students to recharge. After the break, what can you and your students do to stay recharged during the rest of the school year?

In Ensouling Our Schools: A Universally Designed Framework for Mental Health, Well Being, and Reconciliation (Ensouling Our Schools), Jennifer Katz shares important lessons on mindfulness and mental well-being that help you create thriving, engaged learning communities.

Breathing exercises are a quick and easy way to combat stress, overwhelm, and anxiety on a daily basis. Here are some useful tips, straight out of Ensouling Our Schools to help your students (and you!) start the break off on the right foot. You can find these lessons on pages 133-134 of the book.

Breathing using imagery-Ensouling Our Schools

Breathing using imagery
Have your students sit comfortably in their chairs and imagine a time they were angry or anxious. Have them create an image of something that represents that feeling, such as a cat hissing or a dark cloud.

Have your students then inhale deeply through their noses while imagining something that makes them happy, like a bright colour or something that smells and tastes good, and breathe out the image of the bad feeling.

 

 

Belly Breathing- Ensouling Our Schools

Belly breathing

Have your students put a hand on their chests and on their bellies. Tell them that as they inhale, they should be pushing out the hand on their bellies without moving the hand on their chests, activating their diaphragms to help them re-centre themselves.

You can also alternate belly breathing and back breathing. Have the students put one hand on their lower backs and one hand on their bellies and focus on pushing out the hand on their backs while keeping the hands on their bellies still. This helps balance the body.

Nostril breathing - Ensouling Our Schools

Nostril breathing

Have your students press their thumbs onto one nostril and breathe out gently from the other nostril. This is a technique used in some forms of yoga, meditation, and qi gong to regulate the breath.

Remind your students to refocus daily. Improved mental health and a greater sense of calm equip us to better handle the challenges in our day.

Ensouling Our Schools is a book in Jennifer Katz’s “Teaching to Diversity” series. This third installment focuses on mental health and well-being in the classroom, and is available now. Order your copy here.

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Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair on What Inspired “Warrior Nation”

Sinclair, Niigaan_ThisPlaceRetoldNiigaanwewidam James Sinclair is the author of “Warrior Nation,” a story in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features illustrations and colour art by Andrew Lodwick. In his author statement below, Niigaanwewidam shares his connection to the Oka Crisis, and explains how they helped to shape both himself and “Warrior Nation”.

* * * *

The years 1990-2005 were the most formative for me as an Anishinaabe and an inini, a man. It was these years when I learned much of what makes me today – particularly my fierce belief in the power of story. It is this spirit I hope to instill in Warrior Nation.

I was 14 when Elijah Harper bravely said “no” to Meech Lake, and Ellen Gabriel and my Kanien’kehá:ka relations stood their ground at Oka – a time when a boy realizes he is a part of something bigger than him. It should be no surprise that parts of me are inside Washashk (from ignorance to maturation), but Raven is a conglomeration of so many who helped me along my journey who humbled, helped, and taught me along the way. I walk in their footsteps now. This is also the reason why I ended the story hopefully.

While the Kelowna Accord was an abject failure, the resistance and unity Indigenous communities forged during this time is the ultimate story that needs to be told. It is this “warrior spirit” that I believe carried us into the world of today. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ellen Gabriel, who profoundly influenced me with the details of the Oka resistance and helped me re-frame the entire story due to her advice and direction. Miigwech Ellen and to all who helped me along this path and into the future.

– Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

 


Want to learn more about the event that inspired “Warrior Nation”? Click here to watch Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, an award-winning documentary directed by Alanis Obomsawin that chronicles the events of the 1990 Oka Crisis.

Read “Warrior Nation” in This Place: 150 Years Retold.

 


Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are a wild ride through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Featuring Stories By: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel

Illustrated By: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm

Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk

Canada Council New Chapter LogoThis is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

 

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An Interview with KC Adams, Creator of Perception: A Photo Series

KC Adams Perceptions

KC Adams is a Cree/Ojibway/British Winnipeg-based artist who graduated from Concordia University with a B.F.A in studio arts. Currently an instructor in Visual and Aboriginal Art at Brandon University, her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions, as well as in permanent collections both nationally and internationally. She is also the author and creator of Perception: A Photo Series.

KC created the Perception Photo Series in 2014. The series presents two photographs of the same Indigenous person side-by-side – one with a stereotype above it, and one with the participant’s own description of their identity. In the first photo, the participant is reacting to a memory of a racially-charged incident; in the other, they are remembering something that makes them happy. With its powerful ability to address prejudice, Perception was featured on billboards, bus shelters, and posters across Winnipeg, starting a national conversation about our own biases and perceptions..

KC Adams uses two images in her Perception photography series to contrast labels imposed by society with the ones Indigenous women give themselves empowering them to take back the narrative of their lives. The artist is part of The Resilience Project. (John Woods/Canadian Press via CBC Canada.)

KC Adams uses two images in her Perception photography series to contrast labels imposed by society with the ones Indigenous women give themselves empowering them to take back the narrative of their lives. (John Woods/Canadian Press via CBC Canada.)

In her book, KC Adams presents a series of images that confront the stereotypes about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples and inspires her readers to act against prejudice of all kinds. In her Q&A below, KC explores the origin of Perception and her experiences creating it.

1. The longevity of Perception is something that you mention in your preface, as well as the various experiences that you have had because of it. What is the most valuable thing that you have learned as a result of this project?

I was surprised by the human connections that can happen through art. Normally, I am reluctant to ask strangers to help me. I worry too much about obligations and social protocols. I pushed through my fears because I understood that this art project was important. The beautiful souls who volunteered to be part of this photo project taught me about courage, tenacity, and vulnerability and further fuelled my hope in humanity. My models were so kind and generous, and I believe because of their courage, the general response to this work was with kindness and generosity. How cool is that?

2.What do you think your book, Perception: A Photo Series, brings to this project which the other mediums you have used have not yet been able to provide?

Photography allows the viewer to look into the eyes of my subjects and react to their truth. My method in photographing my subjects, was to allow their genuine reactions to hate and love shine through. My model’s physical reactions to those words allowed the viewer to relate and experience empathy.

3. In your book, you mention how, when you started the project of Perception, your intent was to “combat racism and present Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the ways they see themselves.”; but now it is “to give hope to the Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit people for a better future and to remind people that discrimination must never be tolerated”. What prompted the evolution in your intent for this project? How does Perception: A Photo Series aim to accomplish this?

Initially, I was responding to negativity, a knee-jerk reaction to bigotry. It was from anger that I was driven to act quickly to combat this ignorance. As I photographed my community, I was able to sit and hear their experience, to understand how they saw themselves. Their strength, beauty, and hope encouraged me. When the work was distributed, I heard from strangers about how moved they were by the photos and shared their appreciation on how it allowed them to start the conversation about racism with their friends and family. Teachers started contacting me about how they were able to share this work with their students and have conversations about discrimination. What evolved was that people were eager to have these conversations and it took me out of anger into the light of hope.

4. The author Katherena Vermette, in her foreword entitled “Before Words”, describes the process you used to take photographs of the participants. Why did you decide to capture the photographs in this way?

I wanted the audience to understand the pain of each person I photographed, and the only way I could do that was to bring them into that mental state. The hate and joy that I inflicted on my models was allowing them to speak their truth. Photographing my mother was the most painful exercise. I asked her to remember when she was a little girl and kids would taunt her, calling her a ‘dirty little indian.’ She started to well up, and I managed to take a couple of photos before I had to stop and comfort her. That was really painful for me to see that she still holds onto those hateful words. I would often cry when I would talk about that photo session. This project was an eye-opening experience for me on the levels of pain and joy that exists in the original people of this land.

5. What are you working on now? Do you have any plans for future projects?

I am currently working on some public art commissions, one of which I just completed with Jaimie Isaac and Val Vint on a 30-foot sculpture called Nimamaa located at the South entrance of the Forks in Winnipeg. Nimamaa is a word recognized by Cree, Ojibway, and Métis speakers as “my mother.” Nimamaa is a stylized sculpture of a pregnant woman that represents motherhood, mother earth, and new beginnings.  

I am also working on multiple projects that addresses Indigenous knowledge through Indigenous clay, beading, and porcupine quill work. I am trying to address the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action in my art practice. I believe art can elicit positive change by reclaiming our culture and spirit. I will end this with one of my favourite quotes by my good friend Steve Loft.

“…when members of a community assert control over their own lives and culture politically, socially, and artistically, they go beyond oppression. Thus, control of our “image” becomes not only an act of subversion, but of resistance and ultimately liberation.”

Interested in learning more about Perception? Click here to listen to KC’s interview with CBC guest host Jelena Adzic about Perception’s effects across Winnipeg, and the project as a whole.

Want to experience Perception for yourself? Pre-order your copy of Perception: A Photo Series today!

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Katherena Vermette on Writing About Annie Bannatyne in This Place: 150 Years Retold

K_Vermette_2016 Katherena Vermette is the author of “Annie of Red River” in the graphic novel anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features artwork created by Scott B. Henderson and was coloured by Donovan Yaciuk. In her author statement below, Katherena shares insights into the woman behind her story.

* * * *

Annie Bannatyne was a formidable woman. Little-known outside of Winnipeg and Métis communities, not even known to me until I was an adult, Mrs. Bannatyne is an inspiration who deserves more recognition. Born and raised in Red River, in what is now Winnipeg’s Exchange District, she was the daughter of Andrew McDermot, a wealthy store owner, and Sarah McNab, a Métis-Saulteaux woman. As an adult, Annie married Andrew Bannatyne, another successful store owner. Mrs. Bannatyne was well-educated and community-minded. In addition to running her store and raising her family, she spearheaded many charitable initiatives, and was instrumental in the fundraising and founding of the Winnipeg General Hospital, the first hospital in the region. Mrs. Bannatyne was not the kind of woman to mess with. So, when Charles Mair wrote disparaging things about Métis women in the Toronto Daily Globe, Mrs. Bannatyne didn’t just get mad, she got even.

Later that month, Montreal’s Le Nouveau Monde published an editorial by the mysterious “L.R.” that also criticized Mair’s remarks. Most historians think this was none other than Louis Riel in his first act of written revolt, inspired by the actions of Mrs. Bannatyne. As one historian notes, “In 1869, Annie stepped outside her gender role and committed a single act of resistance that fired the imagination of a young Louis Riel.”[1]

– Katherena Vermette

 

[1] Todd Lamirande, “Annie McDermot (Bannatyne) (c.1830-1908),” 2008: http://www.metismuseum.ca/media/db/07426.


This Place-25

Annie Bannatyne also has connections to the names of two Winnipeg streets – McDermot Avenue was named after her father, Andrew McDermot, and Bannatyne Avenue was named after her husband, Andrew Bannatyne.

Want to read more from Katherena Vermette? Explore more Métis history by following 13-year-old Echo Desjardins in the graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo, where you’ll be transported back in time during the North American Fur Trade in Pemmican Wars, and walk alongside Louis Riel and the rest of the Métis provisional government in Red River Resistance.


 

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are a wild ride through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Featuring Stories By: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel

Illustrated By: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm

Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk

 

CCA_NewChapter_logo_transparent-eThis is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

 

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Why You Need the Latest “Hands-On Science and Technology” for Your Classroom

Every teacher knows that part of preparing today’s learners for a successful tomorrow is to teach using methods that engage learners and spark creativity and interest inside—and outside—the classroom.

The latest edition of Hands-On Science and Technology: An Inquiry Approach is designed to meet the changing needs of Ontario students and educators. It includes brand-new material to help educators equip today’s learners with 21st Century Competencies including critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

This resource includes many new features including authentic Indigenous content and an inquiry-based approach to learning which encourages students to learn through research. All of your favourite features from the previous version are still included.It comes packed with useful activities and projects to help you easily incorporate an inquiry-based approach in your classroom.

Keep reading to see some real examples from the textbook, and see how you can incorporate Indigenous-based learning in your classroom.

Hands-On Science and Technology

Using Hands-On Science and Technology in Your Classroom

Hands-On Science and Technology: An Inquiry Approach breaks down each unit with helpful steps and insights to help your class get the most out of each lesson. Let’s take a look at some examples in this new edition:

What Do We Know About Electrical Safety?

Students study the differences between static electricity and current electricity, and explore how we use electricity day-to-day with activities such as:

  • creating a collage about electricity
  • watching YouTube videos about how static electricity causes thunder
  • using diagrams to show their knowledge

The overall goals from this section for your class are critical thinking, creativity, and communication. Have students complete a task that incorporates their creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills and encourages them to consolidate and internalize their learning. Have students:

  • pretend they’re a famous pop star/rap singer/country vocalist/rock singer for a day.
  • write a song or rap about electrical safety. Use a familiar tune from a current musical hit, one from a traditional song, or make up their own.
  • practice their song or rap, then record the audio to share with the class!

Infusing Indigenous Perspectives

Hands-On Science and Technology is full of suggestions to incorporate Indigenous world views in your lessons. Here’s one example:

Exploring Indigenous Understandings of the Annual Cycle

Students study the change of seasons and how they relate to the Earth’s orbit around the sun.

In order to gain an Indigenous perspective on the relationship between the sun, moon, and seasons, consider inviting a local Elder or Métis Senator to share their knowledge with the class, and explore Indigenous stories about the seasons together, such as:

Land-Based Learning

Many activities in Hands-On Science and Technology incorporate land-based learning activities, such as:

Learning the Characteristics of the Planets in Our Solar System

As part of teaching students about the characteristics of our solar system, take the students to a large, open area outside. Have students bring their activity sheets from the classroom, and use a paper sun to take turns estimating how far they think the planets should be from the paper sun.

Have students place their planets on the ground in the correct order from the Sun according to their estimations, using the ground to show how close or far away they estimate each planet to be.

Start Using Hands-On Science & Technology in Your Classroom

One of the biggest benefits of the Hands-On Science and Technology curriculum is that you can modify these examples for your classroom, creating a learning experience tailored to the needs and learning styles of your students.

For more information on how you can use Hands-On Science & Technology in your classroom, find us at the Reading For The Love of It Conference in Toronto, ON, February 21st and 22nd.

Looking for more information on the version of Hands-On Science & Technology applicable to your grade? Visit our website to browse all 1 – 6 titles for the Ontario curriculum.

 

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How to Include “A Girl Called Echo” in your Louis Riel Day Classroom Studies

A Girl Called Echo Vol 2: Red River Resistance

It’s Louis Riel Day! Make History Relevant for Your Students Using “Red River Resistance”

A graphic novel for ages 12+

Louis Riel Day offers a terrific opportunity to introduce your students to Indigenous authors and books that commemorate the life of Louis Riel and offer an own voice account to historical events. Red River Resistance from the A Girl Called Echo series written by local author and educator Katherena Vermette, presents a Métis perspective of the events leading up to the Red River Resistance. Readers follow Echo as she travels back and forth through time and learns about her Métis  history firsthand. In Red River Resistance, Echo witnesses Métis families, who have lived along the Red River for centuries, protest against the Canadian surveyors who are selling their land out from under them. As the protests go from peaceful to violent, Echo finds herself fearing for her friends and for the future of her people in the Red River Valley.

Here are some ideas for using the graphic novel with your students for Louis Riel Day and beyond.

Red River Resistance - Page 11

Red River Resistance is volume two in the graphic novel series, A Girl Called Echo, by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson and colour by Donovan Yaciuk.

Confederation

Louis Riel and the Red River Resistance played a significant role in the creation of Manitoba as a province – so much so, Louis Riel is often referred to as the Father of Manitoba. After reading the book, Red River Resistance, have students review the timeline in the back. Students could then do their own research, write opinion pieces, or hold a debate about the factors leading up to the Resistance and the creation of Manitoba.

Contemporary Issues in Canada

In their research for the above activity, students are also likely to come across “Red River Rebellion,” an older term for the Red River Resistance. This presents an opportunity for discussion with students about the difference between the two terms, and the connotations of each. Discuss the legacy of the Red River Resistance, and why we take time off to reflect on Louis Riel Day.

Another topic for research and discussion in Red River Resistance is that of child welfare. Echo is a foster kid who is disconnected from her Métis heritage. Students can research the statistics and issues surrounding foster care and child welfare in Canada, and use this as a starting place for opinion writing, discussions, or debate.

Creative Expression and Graphic Storytelling

Graphic storytelling is an art form that has been used for thousands of years. This recent article, “Graphic examples of the art of storytelling” by Niigaan Sinclair, can be used as a starting place for a discussion with your students. Students can explore other styles of graphic novels and compare them to Red River Resistance, then write and illustrate their own graphic novels. Blambot is a resource with articles on topics such as writing graphic novel and comic scripts or comic book grammar and lettering styles that students can use as a reference when creating their own books.

Exploration of Identity and Heritage

Throughout A Girl Called Echo, Echo learns about the history of the Métis people. Echo is a girl who lives in a foster home and doesn’t know very much about her roots. Like all kids, she expresses herself through her clothes, hobbies, and the music she listens to. As she discovers more about her Métis heritage and settles into her new school, Echo becomes more confident and involved with her fellow students. Pemmican Wars and Red River Resistance can be used as a starting place for students to explore their own identities, heritage, or experiences in unfamiliar environments, such as when they started a new school themselves.

Connection with Local History

If your students attend school in or near Winnipeg, help them connect with the local history of the Red River Resistance with a visit to where the events took place. Fort Gibraltar, Upper Fort Garry Park, Lower Fort Garry, and Riel House all provide rich learning opportunities, particularly during Festival du Voyageur.

How have you used A Girl Called Echo with your students? Let us know in the comments!

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David A. Robertson on What Inspired His Story “Peggy” in This Place: 150 Years Retold

David A. Robertson

David A. Robertson is the author of “Peggy”, a story in the anthology This Place: 150 Years Retold. The story features illustrations and colour art by Natasha Donovan. In his author statement below, David shares why he chose to focus on Francis Pegahmagabow – the most effective sniper of World War I, as well as a respected Indigenous rights activist – and what he hopes readers will gain by reading “Peggy”.

My work has often focused on representation—on how Indigenous Peoples now, and in the past, have been portrayed in literature. I also strive to find Indigenous heroes who have been underrepresented in literature. Often, I have used comics, an art form that spans all genres, and reaches all ages, genders, and cultures. I’ve known about Francis Pegahmagabow for years, on a surface level. I knew that he was one of the most effective snipers in history, but I wanted to know more about him, and I thought it was important for Canadians to know more as well. Drawing on several texts, including Brian McInnes’ excellent Sounding Thunder, I learned about Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow the man, and the effectiveness of his work that extended beyond the battlefield.

Comics are engaging and powerful. Much like Francis himself. But, as with this story, they often serve as an introduction, and it is up to the reader to continue the learning. There is so much more to Peggy, up to his retirement as Supreme Chief of the National Indian Government in 1950, and into his later life. The nuances, struggles, and victories are fascinating, and I hope this text catapults you into that life, and the teachings we can draw from it.

Ekosani,
David A. Robertson

 

 

 


"Peggy" in This Place Retold by David A. Robertson and Natasha DonovanLearn about other Indigenous veterans with the Indigenous War Heroes Project: http://indigenouswarhero.org.

Read David A. Robertson’s take on the story of Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow in This Place: 150 Years Retold.


 

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are a wild ride through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

Featuring Stories By: Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, and Chelsea Vowel

Illustrated By: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, and Jen Storm

Colour By: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk

CCA_NewChapter_logo_transparent-e

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

 

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Celebrating “I Love to Read Month” with a contest!

February is just around the corner, which means national “I Love to Read Month” is almost here!

For many Canadian educators, “I Love to Read Month” is an opportunity to promote a love of reading and being read to by others. It’s also a great opportunity to explore titles relating to the TRC’s Calls to Action, and to delve into thought-provoking works by Indigenous authors.

One of the titles we’re most excited about is This Place: 150 Years Retold. This graphic novel anthology explores the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators, including Governor General Award–winning writers Katherena Vermette and David A. Robertson, as well as Jen Storm, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Richard Van Camp, Brandon Mitchell, and more!

These beautifully illustrated stories use magic, psychic battles, serial killings, and even science fiction and time travel to explore Indigenous perspectives and provide new opportunities to think about history.

This Place Retold 2019Enter Our “I Love to Read Month” Twitter Contest

Are you an educator interested in using this groundbreaking anthology in your classroom? Then don’t miss our Twitter contest for your chance to win a classroom set of This Place: 150 Years Retold.

All you need to do is follow us @PortageandMainPres and take the following actions:

  • Retweet the original post, to be published on February 4, 2019.
    (*We will pin it to the top of our feed!)
  • Retweet each new contest post as many times as you’d like – the more you retweet, the more chances you have to win!

The contest runs from February 4-15, 2019, so make sure to stay glued to our Twitter profile for your chance to retweet multiple contest posts and increase your chances of winning. (*See additional contest details at the bottom of the blog post.)

Books That Are Perfect for the Classroom

Are you looking for new books to explore with your class during “I Love to Read Month”? Then don’t miss these other great titles from the authors and contributors of This Place: 150 Years Retold:

FireStarters_webFire Starters

By: Jen Storm
Illustrated by: Scott B. Henderson
Colour by: Donovan Yaciuk
For: Grades 7-12

After Ron and Ben discover an old flare gun, they suddenly find themselves in trouble when the local gas bar on Agamiing Reserve goes up in flames, and they are identified as the culprits by the local sheriff’s son.

As the investigation progresses and the truth of what happened slowly comes to light, hidden attitudes held by community members are revealed.
Order your copy of Fire Starters today.

The Reckoner Trilogy

By: David A. Robertson
For: Grade 7 to adult

The Reckoner is a series by David A. Robertson,  an award–winning writer and author of Governor General’s award-winning children’s book When We Were Alone.

Strangers_web  Monsters (1)  Ghostsa_web (1)

Currently the first two instalments, Strangers and Monsters are available:

Strangers
The Reckoner Trilogy, Book 1

When Cole Harper returns to Wounded Sky First Nation after 10 years, he finds his community in chaos:  series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago.

Cole is aided by his two oldest friends, a disfigured ghost, and an unhelpful spirit as tries to figure out his purpose and unravel the mysteries he left behind… but will he find the answers in time to save his community?
Order your copy of Strangers today.

Monsters
The Reckoner Trilogy, Book 2

In book two of The Reckoner Trilogy, Cole struggles to settle into life at Wounded Sky First Nation. He may have stopped a serial killer, the community still needs his help: the health clinic is mysteriously on lockdown, a creature lurks in Blackwood forest, and hidden secrets are starting to surface about Cole’s parents’ disappearance.
Order your copy of Monsters today.

Ghosts
The Reckoner Trilogy, Book 3

In book three, due to be released May 1, 2019, Mikho Laboratories has re-opened its research facility and is working to manufacture the disease that first plagued Wounded Sky. The community is quarantined. Will it be saved? This is the final instalment in David A. Robertson’s trilogy, and is sure to answer all of your questions left from Monsters.
Pre-order your copy of Ghosts today.

ManitowapowManitowapow
Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water

Edited by: Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair and Warren Cariou
Foreword by: Beatrice Mosionier
For: Grade 11 to adult

Manitowapow is a collection of stories, poetry, speeches, and nonfiction perfect for the classroom. Explore historical writings from important figures, nonfiction from contemporary Indigenous leaders, stories from local storytellers and keepers of knowledge from far-reaching communities, and Anishinaabe, Cree, Dene, Inuit, Métis, and Sioux writers from Manitoba.
Order your copy of Manitowapow today.


Three_FeathersThree Feathers

By: Richard Van Camp
Illustrated by: K. Mateus
For: Grades 9—12

This title, the third in The Debwe Series, explores the power and grace of restorative justice and the power of a multi-generational cultural legacy through one Northern community.

After vandalizing their community, three young men – Bryce, Flinch, and Rupert – are sent by the community Elders to live on the land for nine months as part of the circle sentencing process. There, the young men learn to acquire humility and take responsibility for their actions… but will they be forgiven for what they’ve done when they return home?
Order your copy of Three Feathers now.

The graphic novel is available in the Cree, Chipewyan, and Slavey languages. To place an order, please contact customer service at 1-800-667-9673.

Red River Resistance

PemmicanWars_Final (1)  Echo_RRR_cover-e1531426289135 (1)

A Girl Called Echo, Vol. 2

By: Katherena Vermette
Illustrated by: Scott B. Henderson
Colour by: Donovan Yaciuk
For: Grades 5—9
Red River Resistance is the second instalment in the A Girl Called Echo series, and picks up where the first book, Pemmican Wars, left off.

In this instalment of the gripping graphic novel series from Katherena Vermette, we follow Echo as she struggles to fit into her new home, and as she is pulled back again and again into the past, to the banks of the Red River circa 1869.

As Echo learns about Métis history in the present-day, she witnesses as the Métis members of the Red River Colony, who have lived along the riverbanks for centuries, protest against the Canadian surveyors who are selling their land out from under them. As the protests go from peaceful to violent, Echo finds herself fearing for her friends and for the future of her people in the Red River Valley.
Order your copy of A Girl Called Echo Vol. 2: Red River Resistance.
Order your copy of A Girl Called Echo Vol 1: Pemmican Wars.


What are you most excited to read during national “I Love to Read Month”?
Tell us on
Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Can’t wait for a copy of This Place: 150 Years Retold for your classroom? Pre-order your copy today.


CCA_NewChapter_logo_transparent-eThis Place: 150 Years Retold is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

 

 


“I Love To Read Month” Twitter Contest Rules

  • Contest is open to Canadian and US residents.
  • Teachers, educators, principals, or school officials are eligible for the contest prize.
  • Contest runs February 4, 2019 – February 15, 2019, 11:59 p.m. CST.
  • Winners announced February 18, 2019.
  • Prizes will be shipped after May 1, 2019.
  • This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Twitter.
  •  By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Twitter of responsibility, and agree to Twitter’s term of use.
  • Any attempt by any participant to obtain more entries by using multiple and/or different identities, Twitter accounts, registrations, email addresses, logins, or any other methods will void that participant’s entries, and that participant may be disqualified.
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Interview with Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse author of Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools

Dr. Pamela ToulousePamela Rose Toulouse, Ph.D., is an Anishinabekwe (Ojibwe/Odawa woman) from Sagamok First Nation. Currently, she is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. She has 25 years of diverse experience throughout the elementary to postsecondary education continuum, and a 3M National Teaching Excellence Fellow. She is also the author of Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools.

In her book, Pamela Rose Toulouse explores residential school history, treaty education, Indigenous contributions, First Nation/Métis/Inuit perspectives and sacred circle teachings for teachers looking to respectively infuse these topics into their subjects and courses.

In your acknowledgments, you mention that your grandmother was a survivor of the residential school system, as well as one of the greatest influences of your life. How has she inspired the writing of your book?
This book came from my admiration and love for my grandmother. She was more than a survivor of residential school. She didn’t allow those experiences to define her, but shared her stories to compel me to be a better person. When I was doing my doctoral research, I interviewed her about residential school and was horrified at what she went through. She shared what happened to her and did not give away her personal power to those atrocities. People that knew my grandmother knew she told it like it was, always. Her honesty was harsh, but she was true to herself. I really am the luckiest person to have had Madonna Toulouse as my grandmother. Her humour and unique spin on life still inspire me today.

In 2018, you participated in the professional learning event Truth and Reconciliation in Every School: What we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to do to move forward respectfully. How do events such as this connect to the relationship building that you facilitate in your book?
Relationships are the foundation of truth and reconciliation. I participate in many events and professional development sessions to model the building of bridges based on compassion and action. I share my own stories, so people can relate at an emotional level first. They need to have a heart to mind connection to really get truth and reconciliation. Everyone can relate to being either a mother, father, auntie, uncle, cousin, or another familial role. Everyone can relate to feeling pain or happiness for a loved one. My participation in events is essential to humanizing what was dehumanizing. These messages plant that seed for participants to engage in action.

How does Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools help teachers to deliver on the TRC Calls to Action?
Every chapter has the specific education for the reconciliation Call to Action that is being addressed. This was absolutely critical to establishing the relevance of this book. It was really important that I honour my grandmother by doing my part. This book is my response to the TRC and honouring my grandmother. The history of residential schools, treaties and other aspects of our communities need to be shared. Every Canadian has a responsibility (whether they know it or not) to be a part of social change based in truth and reconciliation. The time is now and this book is only a small part of that path in K to 12.

Was there a specific experience that influenced the writing of this book?
I have been teaching and working in education for 25 years. I am so lucky that I get to work with preservice teachers and educators in the field. Many of those dedicated individuals would talk to me about how they wanted to teach about Truth and Reconciliation, but were afraid to, or did not know where to start. I wrote this book as a safe entry point for teachers to begin this journey with their students. Each chapter and lesson plan is very practical and visual and makes K to 12 curriculum connections for teachers. The book is that hands-on resource that honours Indigenous communities and addresses educator insecurities around sensitive topics.

Explore and infuse Truth and Reconciliation in your classroom by ordering Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools today.

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Honouring the Indigenous tradition of potlatch

For centuries, the potlatch persisted as a sacred and significant social ceremony practiced by Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States, including the Heiltsuk, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Coast Salish cultures.

In their book Potlatch as Pedagogy, Sara Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson describe the potlatch as: “the legal foundation of our social structure [which] ensured the transmission of our cultural knowledge.”  

According to Davidson, the word ‘potlatch’ “referred to any ceremonial distribution of property among different coast peoples regardless of the specific nature of the event.”

This time of great feasting traditionally lasts for several days and includes dancing and performances in masks and full regalia. In Kwakwaka’wakw culture, the event is hosted by a numaym, or “House” comprised of a group of kin who draw their identity from the same ancestral founder.

SonnyAssu_ThisPlaceRetold_2019Exploring the History of Potlatch

In his story “Tilted Ground,” featured in the upcoming graphic novel anthology, This Place: 150 Years Retold, author Sonny Assu explores the journey of his great-great-grandfather, Chief Billy Assu, who was one of the most respected and influential potlatch chiefs in Ligwilda’xw history.

Throughout the story, we are presented with two alternate versions of the potlatch: the perspective of the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and that of the members of the Ligwilda’xw community as Billy learns to properly honour his ancestors during their ceremonies.

While the government agents repeatedly describe potlatch ceremonies as wasteful, misunderstanding the important cultural significance of sharing and distributing, the story highlights the importance of potlatch ceremonies as marking transitional periods, milestones, celebrations, and the cultural significance of sharing wealth among community members.

One panel in “Tilted Ground” shows Billy reflecting on the cultural differences between the government and the Ligwilda’xw,  stating: “the mamala [white men or white people] always want to show off their personal wealth… For us it’s not like that. Material wealth is something that belongs to the greater community.”

TILTED_GROUND_ThisPlaceRetold2019
A page from “Tilted Ground” by author Sonny Assu; artwork by Kyle Charles.

This belief is reflected in Potlatch as Pedagogy, where Sara Florence Davidson states: “the potlatch was considered the ‘final avenue to establishing and upholding social status for the Haida as for other societies of the Pacific Northwest’.”  

Preservering Potlatch

On April 19, 1884, the Canadian government amended the Indian Act to ban the potlatches completely.

However, as Sonny Assu shows in his story, “Tilted Ground,” the law was ignored by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, who continued the tradition despite the new legislation.

The potlatch ban was not only unpopular with Indigenous peoples, but many non-Indigenous people also disagreed with the ban. One of them was the anthropologist Franz Boas, who began field work with the Kwakwaka’wakw in 1886 and also makes an appearance in “Tilted Ground.”

Throughout “Tilted Ground” Sonny Assu explores the important cultural significance of the potlatch, as well as how his great-great grandfather helped shape the future of the Ligwilda’xw.

He tells how Billy, after becoming the chief of the Wiweqayi, determined that the most effective way to preserve their way of life was to teach English to the Wiweqayi. This way, they could negotiate on their own behalf and take jobs in emerging industries.

Sonny states: “his vision was not about assimilation… but adoption.”

As Sonny explores in the story, the money coming into the community gave Chief Assu the means to buy more colonial and traditional goods, which allowed him to hold larger and more elaborate potlatches. He became so renowned for his potlatches that he was eventually honoured with the name “pasala” meaning “to give many potlatches.”

To this day, potlatch signifies the value of generosity as a mark of social stature: those members of the community who have an abundance use potlatches to share their material wealth with their community publicly and openly.

 


Discover more about the rich social significance of these ceremonies by pre-ordering your copy of This Place: 150 Years Retold today. Teachers can also incorporate concepts from potlatch in their classrooms with Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning Through Ceremony, which can be purchased here.

 

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