Métis Sisters Share their Culture
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Senator Cecile Wagar and her sister Claire Kearns have been sharing Métis culture with students over the past two years through school presentations. The duo’s presentations are funded by the Ontario Arts Council's Aboriginal Artists and Elders in the Schools Program.
Their Métis presentation has been primarily given to Grade 3 and 6 students in French Immersion schools in the Durham area. Métis presenters in English, Michif and French are in high demand in schools across Ontario. Cecile and Claire have been able to share their stories of being Métis with interactive presentations to over 1,300 young people since April 2010. The sisters have occasionally been joined by MNO citizen, Janet Huttmann, and Oshawa and Durham Métis Council Secretary, Frances Harris.
Sharing Métis culture with school age audiences is part of the effort to educate Ontario students. The sisters have developed a program of cultural stories, plays and costumes for each of their visits. Children are shown how to jig and crafts include dot-art bookmarks, which teach them about beadwork. The women also have a display which showcases furs, Métis tools and historical photos.
“It was a lot of fun but also a lot of work,” stated Senator Wager, “the children loved the jigging and the dot-art piece they did to represent the Métis beadwork. They enjoyed being part of our play. For many it was their first experience in touching real furs!”
Since signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Education, the MNO has been working vigorously to bring together our Métis community and school boards, developing secondary resources for teaching Métis education in the classroom, and working with both the community and teachers to ensure the highest quality of Métis education for all Ontarians.
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