Originally reported by Nate Smelle for Bancroft This Week at http://www.bancroftthisweek.com/?p=4644giving tree 3
Jaime Koebel (Source: Facebook)

Artist, educator and self-identified Métis Jaime Koebel recently attended an assembly at York River Public School in Bancroft. The assembly, titled “Think Indigenous,” included participation from Métis and other Aboriginal representatives.

Koebel led a workshop on Métis culture and teachings, discussing how the Métis people would communicate and share with each other by using what she calls a “giving tree.”

The giving tree was used to leave messages to allow Métis people to exchange information or to leave useful things like spare moccasins, medicine, food and tools for others who may need them.

The only requirement to take part in the giving tree system was that if an item was taken, then another item had to be given.

Part of the Métis culture involves taking care of each other. Koebel believes the core values and strength of the Métis people is well defined by the Cree word Otimpemsuak.

“(It) roughly translates in English to ‘the people who are their own boss’ or ‘the people who own themselves,’” she stated.

The assembly was a day-long set of activities meant to make the First Nations, Métis and Inuit students from the area feel represented and their culture recognized.