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Paying it Forward – Ribbons Skirts for the Kids

By Suzanne Depeel, GDC Administrative Coordinator

Feb 27, 2023

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In Fall of 2022, the Metis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S) announced a collaboration with various school divisions across Saskatchewan; a collaboration to bring Michif and Dene to young learners. In partnership with the Northern Lights School Division, MN-S introduced a Cree language course to the Pre-K and Kindergarten students at Pre-Cam School in La Ronge. We, as a community, are fortunate to be a part of this partnership.

More recently, Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP) Faculty member, Nancy Lafleur (also owner of Cree8tive Cree-ations), made an amazing, one of a kind donation of 10 ribbon skits to our school. The donation showed appreciation to the Northern Lights School Division for supporting the NSITEP program and was an opportunity for students to practice what they are learning in the classroom.

Nancy creates amazing story skirts. If you have ever had the chance to see one of them, you know you are in the presence of a master craftsperson. She tells stories through intricate images sewn onto panels of the skirts. Her inspiration come from a multitude of places, including dreams, conversation, nature, or just an idea of how different fabrics, textures, and threads might look; from there, wearable pieces of art are brought to life.

These skirts are a class set, which students will be able to wear during special events. The pride in having access to the ribbon skirts was evident in the students smiles and how quickly they chose their favorite skirt.

In addition, we are lucky to have a recent Community-Based Master of Education Program graduate, Abby McLeod, teaching the Pre-K students. She is passing on valuable knowledge, with respect to the Cree language. Beyond teaching about the Cree people, Abby also shares local history and history of the Métis people, as we are located on the homeland of the Métis.

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

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