School powwow teaches students about culture
Students at the Ogden Community School in Thunder Bay experienced their first powwow on Dec. 14.
Biwaase’aa program manager Paul Francis said the powwow is part of the program’s mandate to to help address child poverty issues by increasing life skills of children, youth and their families through strategies of cultural awareness, academic improvement, structured activities and health nutritional supplementation.
“I think bringing in the cultural teachings has been a big part of our program and has a big impact on the kids,” he said. “When we first started doing powwows in the schools, the kids who don’t know it are hesitant but now they’re starting to be proud.”
The powwow was preceded by workshops on Dec. 10, which taught students of various grades the teachings of the drum, regalia, dancing and powwow protocol.
Francis said the powwow had a good turnout and that the students enjoyed the experience.
Earlier this year, Biwaase’aa announced that program funding had been cut by the government, but Francis said a number of funders have pulled through and the program is fully operational again.
“I think because of the work, the impact and the success of (the program), we overreached our goal,” Francis said, noting that the program currently has nearly $900,000. “We should be alright for next year (too).”
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