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DTI ABE Students Shine at Christmas Parade

Dec 19, 2013

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Over the past three years, ABE students at DTI in La Loche have been enthusiastically participating in the annual La Loche Community Christmas Parade. Each year, DTI students join hands to creatively improvise a Métis-specific float.

November and December are exciting months at the DTI La Loche Centre. Students learn about Métis and the many contributions of the Métis to our country. As well, ABE Level 3 students get to read Halfbreed, the 1973 memoir of renowned Métis author and Elder Maria Campbell. Halfbreed is one of the most acclaimed Aboriginal autobiographical writings of all time. It explores Campbell’s poverty-stricken childhood; and early adulthood, which included being married at 15, high-end prostitution in Vancouver, battles with addiction, racism, and thoughts of suicide; as well as the inspiration of her great-grandmother that gave her confidence, and helped her to survive and thrive. Halfbreed is taught in schools across Canada, and continues to inspire many Aboriginal peoples.

Lessons in Métis history lead up to the celebration of Métis culture that includes building a Métis themed float to be displayed at the Christmas Parade.

In 2012, the students built a float with a religious overtone. They built a church surrounded by teepees representing the devoutness of the Métis people. In the foreground sat fiddle player symbolizing the gathering of the Métis during a ceremony
or festive season. They won fourth place last year winning them $200.00. The two classes split the monies towards their fundraiser, and some went towards our annual Christmas feast with family and staff here at DTI.

This year, the students built the Red River cart pulled by a black horse. All materials are improvised, and with lots
of effort and enthusiasm there was a sense of pride in their skills and in their Métis history and culture. Tamara Toulejour, an ABE Level 3 student, literally surprised everyone – she built the whole Red River cart herself. It was a very creative and beautiful art work. The horse drawn Red River cart was declared the overall winner of the 2013 La Loche
Community Christmas Parade.

Congratulations to Tamara and Team DTI ABE! The Team wishes to express its appreciation to members of staff who supported them along the way. Special thanks to Lenny Gamola for his encouragement and for “loaning us boards and tools.”

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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