Day of Indigenous Learning Gets Delhi Public School Students Dancing
That was the salutation students at Delhi Public School learned recently when they were greeted by Aaron Bell, an Ojibway storyteller and member of the White Pine Dancers, who visited the school along with members of the group for a full day of Indigenous learning. The greeting translates to “welcome” or “hello,” and the day provided an amazing opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of the traditions and cultures of some of Canada’s First Nations communities through activities and dance.
The first half of the day gave students the chance to listen to stories and teachings before taking part in a hands-on workshop crafting together leather and beads. In the afternoon, everyone got up and moving as the White Pine Dancers introduced traditional dances, which students later performed. The day finished with the dancers individually demonstrating various dances, with explanations about the teachings imparted by each one.
“Students were in awe at the dances and the regalia the performers wore, and were particularly moved by the hoop dancing performance,” said Cynthia Gozzard, Vice-Principal at Delhi Public School. “One Grade 3 student was even heard saying, ‘my mouth will be open for the rest of the day because I can’t believe how great that was!’”
The day was planned with support from Grand Erie’s Indigenous Education team, and highlights the commitment to building inclusive, equitable learning environments, as well as the community partnerships that enrich students’ experiences both in and out of the classroom. Students left with a better understanding of the collective histories of this part of the world, and how important those legacies are today.