Explorations in Integration
First Nation's ways of knowing and the history of the First Nation's people was woven across the curricula throughout my final practicum in a Grade 4 class.
For Language Arts, we completed a novel study on "The Birchbark House", by Louise Erdrich, which is the first book in a four book series known as The Birchbark series. The story follows the life of Omakayas and her Ojibwe community beginning in 1847 near present-day Lake Superior. The Birchbark House has received rave reviews and was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for young people’s fiction.
The children completed their choice of final project to demonstrate their learning, which ranged from dioramas to stop motion animation.
We were privileged to attend a Metis cultural day at a neighbouring school, and I was able to document the visit to produce a video for the children on our learning. We discussed what we saw and experienced, and how it was similar or different from what we have learned of the Ojibwe culture.
The Nanaimo Museum was able to attend our school with an excellent presentation on the local First Nation's artifacts and how the settlers changed their way of life. I created a presentation for this learning as well which was posted to Freshgrade for the parents, however it is not able to be shared publicly for privacy reasons.
The Blanket Exercise
Our learnings about First Nation's culture culminated with the Blanket excercise. Together with my Sponsor teacher, we adapted the original KAIROS script to differentiate and engage our young learners. I now have a wonderful script designed for grade 3-4-5 that is able to be presented to younger children to discuss the First Nation's experience with Colonization and Assimilation.
8TH FIRE is a provocative, high-energy journey through Aboriginal country showing you why we need to fix Canada's 500 year-old relationship with Indigenous peoples; a relationship mired in colonialism, conflict and denial.
With its energetic pace and stunning HD landscapes, 8TH FIRE propels you past prejudice, stereotypes and misunderstandings, to encounters with an impressive new generation of Aboriginal Canadians who are reclaiming both their culture and their confidence.
They are the fastest growing population in Canada and more than half live in cities. Those still struggling on reserves in Third World conditions are demanding a share of the vast mineral and energy resources in their midst. And the Canadian justice system is backing them up.
The title for the series draws from an Anishinaabe prophecy that declares now is the time for Aboriginal peoples and the settler community to come together and build the '8th Fire' of justice and harmony.
On a reserve in B.C., we taste high-end wine in a First Nations run vineyard and hear from an entrepreneurial Chief who believes the best relationships are business deals. An award-winning hip-hop trio in Winnipeg escapes gang culture; and we join a Quebec surgeon on a 4000 km trek where he visits First Nation school kids, and encourages them to stay in school and believe in their dreams.
The host of 8TH FIRE is CBC journalist Wab Kinew, from the Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation in Northern Ontario. He's also a dynamic rapper and musician.
This four hour HD series is an encounter with fascinating, complex people - as diverse as Canada itself.
We meet the emerging leaders, artists, activists and thinkers. We explore the best ideas for change. Above all, 8TH FIRE examines the way forward to a second chance to get the relationship right.
PRESENTER: Wab Kinew
MUSIC COMPOSED AND PERFORMED BY: Cris Derksen
SERIES PRODUCER: Kelly Crichton
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Sue Dando, Peter John Ingles
EPISODE 1: Indigenous in the CityMeet the rich kaleidoscope of Aboriginal people who are fast joining the country's urban middle class and bringing their culture with them. Watch
EPISODE 2: It's Time!Memorable people and stories from across the country illustrate why there's an economic, demographic and moral imperative to fix Canada's troubled 500-year relationship with Aboriginals. Watch
EPISODE 3: Whose Land Is It Anyway?An evocative look at the role that land plays in the conflicted relationship with Aboriginal peoples and the rest of Canada. Watch
EPISODE 4: At the CrossroadsHow the Aboriginal community's feisty and self-confident youth; the "Seventh Generation" who are taking new pride in their heritage and pointing the way forward to a new relationship. Watch
Karina Strong is currently a full time Education student at VIU in the Post Bac program. Her undergraduate degree is in Social Work and Small Business Management. She is a professional Circus performer and owner of Vesta Entertainment, a multifaceted entertainment company on Vancouver Island.