Hundreds of Indigenous kids from Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks School Division are participating in a two-day program called Rise Up at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that celebrates Indigenous culture and learning.
In addition, students are discovering how they can take action for human rights.
Students were given a crash course in jigging and square dancing, a traditional dance of many peoples.
Kevin Chief, co-founder of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC), was among the dancers who shared his own journey of growing up as an Indigenous kid in Winnipeg’s north end.
He hopes today’s youth can realize how much of an impact sharing and telling stories can have.
“In the spirit of being at a national museum of human rights, the whole message is about, that we learn the most through our stories. And the most powerful thing that a young Indigenous person can do is to know their story, to know where they’re from, and to articulate that story to people. It’s not only engaging, it’s inspiring.
“And I thought being at a museum of human rights, there’s no better place to give a message to young people for them to know their own stories.”
(‘In the spirit of being at a national museum of human rights, the whole message is about, that we learn the most through our stories,’ says Kevin Chief. Photo: Darrell Stranger/APTN)
This is the second Rise Up gathering the Seven Oaks School Division has done after a successful first year.
Many of the presenters and teachers feel this is an important event outside of the classroom to have the kids learn about Indigenous culture.
“I hope that they take away motivation, to learn more about their culture. And to learn a little bit more about language and some of those traditions that you know were lost along the way historically and that are being introduced again and I hope that they feel that that’s part of who they are and it’s something that they need to learn about in order to kind of grow as a person,” said West Kildonan Collegiate teacher Kristin Erickson.
Friday morning the students will be back for a keynote speech by NDP MLA Bernadette Smith as well as take part in a powwow demonstration.