Partnership Develops videos to help Share Indigenous Culture
In this issueEngage - Volume 11, Issue 1, Fall 2020
When Prairie Central District partnered with Common Weal Community Arts and the Buffalo Peoples Art Institute in 2018, and OUTSaskatoon in 2019, on collaborative projects, they originally saw these as an opportunity to introduce themselves to First Nations communities and the people of Treaty 4. As a result, these partnerships continued to open doors to more partnerships and increased community engagement.
This year, Prairie Central District joined forces with South East District, South West District, and Parkland Valley District, and with First Nations communities on Treaty 4 to create videos designed to educate viewers on First Nations culture, and to share the message that "we are all neighbors and Treaty people."
Aileen Martin, community consultant, Prairie Central District, says as part of this work the team wished to be on grounds in communities for 2020 Treaty 4 Gathering, hosting inperson workshops in the arbor. Unfortunately, COVID19 came with its challenges. However, under the leadership of Sheena Koops, nation builder advocate, Treaty Education Alliance, the partners came up with a great solution – to create videos that will share First Nations culture, and can be used as virtual student activities.
The Districts are now developing more partnerships and creating more videos. They partnered with Harold Littletent, from the Kawacatoose First Nation, and his family for educational teachings and opportunities to learn about Cree/Nehiyawak traditions from around the province under the name Dancing Horse Dance Troupe. In this video, activities and reflections were created and shared on YouTube and other online platforms as part of the annual Treaty 4 Gathering in September 2020.
“Our project was to record dancing and drumming while Harold spoke and shared the rich history, heritage and culture around powwow. In hosting these videos we want to reconnect, recognize and honor the spirit and intent of Treaty 4,” says Martin. “The Districts work in all communities in the province. We realize the need to work harder at building trust and relationships with First Nations communities.”
She adds that the project is “aimed to create mindful, meaningful, userfriendly activities and reflections that teachers and/or distance learners could participate in on their own time and space.”
The Treaty 4 Gathering is a weeklong annual gathering that takes place in midSeptember, to recognize the time –September 15, 1874 – when Treaty 4 was signed.
When asked what this partnership meant to them, here’s what the Districts had to say:
“Parkland Valley District values the partnership with the Treaty 4 Gathering Student Activities Committee, as it has introduced us to many new connections with people and organizations within Treaty 4. Parkland Valley looks forward to partnering again in the future and hopefully contributing in person when it is safe to do so. Parkland Valley also values the partnership between the four Sport, Culture and Recreation Districts. This opportunity has allowed us to work together and we look forward to future collaborations.” Chelsey Johnson, Parkland Valley Sport, Culture and Recreation District.
“The South West District was thrilled to partner with other Districts and the Treaty 4 Gathering to offer student activities. We hope that many teachers and students have been able to view the videos, and do the activities, and find them interesting and thoughtprovoking.” Anne Weisgerber, South West District for Culture, Recreation and Sport.
“South East District appreciates any opportunity to partner and create dialogue that increases a historical understanding of Treaty 4 Territory. Working with the other Districts, Harold Littletent and Dancing Horse allowed us to create an accessible learning opportunity that has given us, and we hope many others, a deeper understanding of Cree/Nehiyawak cultural traditions. In 2019, Gina Starblanket said, ‘Today, we are hopeful that this gathering will encourage expansive treatybased modes of relating'." Tara-Leigh Heslip, South East Sport, Culture and Recreation District.