Native studies touted
The Rainy River District School Board received a report highlighting the annual Native Language and Native Studies conference at its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday (May 1) at Mine Centre School.
The fourth-annual Native Language and Native Studies conference, entitled “Inspiring Each Other Through Ojibwe Language,” was held April 12 at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay.
A total of 145 participants travelled from across Northwestern Ontario and Minnesota to attend this valuable one-day event.
Teachers, school personnel, and several Ministry of Education officers attended the keynote presentation and many of the workshops.
The sharing of resources and curriculum was a focus for the conference, along with the development of Ojibwe language materials for classroom use.
“Native language is sacred and is the foundation of the First Nations’ culture,” said Brent Tookenay, Aboriginal Education leader for the RRDSB.
“I am pleased with the recent efforts in its protection, preservation, and revitalization.
“Language represents the identity of a people, and there is a need to preserve our culture in its truest form while it is still possible,” he stressed.
Native language builds a bridge between elders and youth. It helps aboriginal students to further develop an identity, to build their self-esteem, and to connect with their rich histories and traditions.
The RRDSB and its partners have undertaken numerous initiatives to help ensure the survival of native language in Rainy River District.
Over the last six years, the board’s native language programming has expanded.
It currently is offered in five of its elementary schools and in Fort Frances High School for Grade 9 and 10 students.