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Students Becoming Aware Of Culture

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MARCH 31 1975      v05 n06 p09  
Duck Lake - For a number of years, the Duck Lake Student Residence wanted to start a Pow-wow and Cultural Program for the students.

However this year, they have qualified the staff to undertake such a project, so they are now embarking on a venture, which they feel will be successful and educational to the student body.

The objective is to make the students aware of their culture and learn to appreciate it by teaching them different dances, songs, various styles of costumes, Indian games, and Indian art. They are going to teach them the Indian philosophy of life, the meaning of ceremonies, such as the Sundance, sweatlodge, feasts, the meaning and significance of the pipe ceremonies, and the purpose of burning of sweet grass. They feel the teachings of this nature as long overdue in the educational system.

The project will be gathering an actual classroom type atmosphere every Monday and Friday evenings, where the students will be taught and expected to participate fully in dancing, singings and construction of costumes.

They also hope to utilize some services the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College has in existence. Elders from the surrounding reserves will be asked to give lectures on the subjects mentioned.

The club has received a small grant to start their program. However they also expect the student's respective bands to donate monies or material such as hides, etc. They will also require a substantial amount of capital to purchase material such as beads, yard goods, leather, bells, features, canvas, etc.

Also, the Student Representative Council (S.R.C.) are planning a year-end pow-wow to end the school term. The project will consist of a banquet and dance for the students, parents and staff on the first day and the next two days will be a pow-wow.

For this project, they wish to get as many tee-pees as possible from different reserves. Also, one of the special projects the students want is a fully furnished tee-pee, as authentic as possible. They are also making furnishing such as a painted tee-pee lining, back rests, fire place, war shields, parfleches (Indian storage bags), bedding, etc.

The Pow-wow and Cultural Program classes are to commence on April 7 and will end on June 16, 1975. A total of 21 two-hour sessions have been programmed. However, the students and staff will be working on their costumes every spare moment they have so that all costumes will be utilized during the program.

The whole staff of the student residence is volunteering their free time and talents to make this program a success.

While this whole program is a learning process, it is entertaining as well. The general non-Indian public will gain meaningful knowledge of the Indian way of life.

Cultural Co-ordinators for this program are Gordon and Irene Tootoosis, who bring a good cultural and pow-wow background with them. Both are employed at the Duck Lake Student Residence as ChildCare Workers.

Gordon and Irene Tootoosis
Gordon and Irene Tootoosis.