Feb 19, 2016
Posted in: Uncategorized
By Chantelle Julé
“Culture is the sum of the attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguish one group of people from another. At Gabriel Dumont Institute, Métis culture, traditions, and history guide our organization” (GDI Website). What separates GDI’s Adult Basic Education and Skills Training arm – Dumont Technical Institute – from other educational institutes is that in addition to academics, students also learn the significance of their culture. We strive to empower our students to believe in who they are, where they came from and where they are going.
The Saskatoon Practical Nursing students participated in cultural experiences at the GDI Publishing Department over the course of their first semester. The students really enjoyed their time spent at Publishing while learning about their culture, traditions and history of our organization. Several students commented that this was their first hands-on experience with Métis culture.
The students’ first cultural session included learning the history of the iconic symbol of the Métis, the Sash. Students were then led in a traditional finger weaving workshop by Bonnie Hrycuik. They experienced the way that sashes were historically made. The students made their own sashes and learned their various uses. The students were very captivated by the patience and intent that goes into finger weaving.
The second workshop included an overview of the Hudson Bay Company, focusing on the traditional Métis capote (Metis Voyageur coat), made from the Hudson Bay point blanket. The students learned about the trade era and how the capote became a popular commodity. They learned the traditional blanket stitch, which is the stitch of creating a capote. They then received some point blanket material, and practised this traditional sewing technique while creating their own pair of mittens. Joshua Beam, one of the nursing students said “To me the mitts are a symbol of our history. It is a great item to remind us of the Hudson Bay Company and the history of our culture.”
We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the GDI Publishing Department for allowing our students to come and experience cultural teachings in a wonderful setting, surrounded by their beautiful history and culture. We would also like to extend a huge appreciation to Bonnie Hrycuik for sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for Métis culture with our students.