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NLIP students teach cultural games to children at LU

Wednesday September 3, 2014
Rick Garrick/Wawatay News

Tug of war was a popular game for youth at the Native Language Instructors Program mini-culture and language camp, held July 22 at Lakehead University.

Children’s games integrating culture and language were held on July 22 by third-year Native Language Instructors Program students at Lakehead University.

“We’re teaching these kids how to set snares in the winter time,” said Colin Wabasse, an NLIP student from Wunnumin Lake. “We also showed them how to set up other snares like fox snares ... and moose snares.”

The students taught the games to a group of children at the mini-culture and language camp, which included four different workshops located inside and outside the Bora Laskin Building.

“They have integrated the culture and the language and now they have an opportunity to see if it works on a group of kids,” said Darren Lentz, an NLIP teacher. “It gets them to practice teaching, it gets them to see hands-on learning how their lesson is going to work with a group of students and what things they need to improve upon as teachers.”

Barry Bebamash, from M’Chigeeng on Manitoulin Island, introduced a game from his community — Indian ball — to the children.

“The old guys used to play it back in the 1970s,” Bebamash said. “It’s just like dodge ball and baseball together — there is only one out and one swing.”

The hitter either runs right away or waits in the hitting zone for the next hitter to hit the ball. The fielders have to hit the runners with the ball to get them out before they reach a safe zone across the field from the hitters zone.

“You can either run right away or wait in the (hitting zone) until a good hit comes,” Bebamash said. “But they’ve got to watch they don’t all wait because once they are all piled up in the hitting zone and there is only one batter left, you have to run for sure on that swing.”

The runners can also wait in the safe zone for a good hit to make it back home to the hitting zone.

The camp’s workshops also included designing and making dreamcatchers and playing tug-of-war, lacrosse and a stone-pick-up game.

“It’s amazing how these cultural activities sort of work in two ways — they teach the kids the culture and the language but they also revitalize the language learning with the teachers at the same time, bringing back certain memories of certain parts of the language that they might have forgotten,” Lentz said.

The NLIP program has been operating at Lakehead University for the past 30 years to provide students with an understanding of the structure of the Native language, pedagogical principles and methods and techniques for teaching Native language.

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