This year a small group of teachers volunteered to participate in the Maamaawisiiwin Professional Teacher Development Program at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute . In part, this included a day-long Learning Circle at Fort William Historical Park. That day opened with a Talking Circle facilitated by Elder Brenda Mason from Sandy Lake First Nation, currently residing in Thunder Bay. That ceremony included giving each teacher a tobacco tie as a means of acknowledging their efforts. Brenda also spoke of the importance of this sacred medicine and it’s use in prayer.
During March Break, 22 students and four History Teachers from Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute from grades 10-12 went to major battle sites of WWI and WWII. This group of students went to walk in the footsteps of the brave Canadian Soldiers and honour their efforts for freedom and establishing a true Canadian Identity for Canada. The students made many connections to the curriculum they studied in grade 10 Canadian History. Visiting several grave sites and museums, students were able to make a local connection to Thunder Bay and the brave efforts of soldiers from the Lake Superior Regiment.
For one student, Sariane Fiddler, a personal connection was made. Sariane is a member of the Webequie First Nation. She had a great great grandfather, James Redsky who fought for Canada in World War One. Her family members from Shoal Lake First Nation also fought in World War Two. Sariane would be the first member of her family to return to these battle sites, so her grandmother asked her to present an offering of tobacco at one of the memorials to honour the sacrifices and suffering her family endured as result of participating in the great wars. Sariane would offer tobacco that was given to her from one of the teachers who is part of the Maamaawisiiwin Professional Teacher Development Program at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute from Elder Brenda Mason at a moment at Juno Beach.