Kenora Catholic Reveals Book About Traditional Teachings

Kenora Catholic Reveals Book About Traditional Teachings
Posted on 09/18/2019
Kenora Catholic Reveals a New Book

Students and teachersat Kenora Catholic will have a new resource to learn about the sacred teachings and items that are part of feasts and pow wows.

At the Board Meeting of September 17th, the Kenora Catholic District School Board revealed a new book entitled "Wiikondim! Feasting and Pow Wow," written by Elder in Residence Isobel White and Religious Education and Family Life Coordinator Mariette Martineau.

Mariette Martineau talks about why the book was created. "The book was created to help explain the meaning behind our feasts and pow wows, and the traditions that our students and staff see at our celebrations. We want everyone to understand the cultural significance of some of the sacred items they would see, like cedar, school blankets, the drum and the eagle feather."

With graphic illustrations, colour photos and cartoon characters, the story follows two young boys as they learn about the Wiikondim from Elder Isobel White. The two characters look at images taken at feasts and pow wows at Kenora Catholic and ask questions that Elder Isobel White explains throughout the book.

Kenora Catholic Reveals Book About Traditional Teachings

Kenora Catholic Reveals Book About Traditional Teachings

"It is still relatively new for the Anishinaabeg to write their stories, as their traditions are very much oral ones, and it is with a lot of thought and discernment that we opted to write a book, to capture a story in the printed word," says Mariette Martineau. "We did this from a place of great respect. We want these traditions to continue to live and breathe and be understood by students and staff so they will value them."

"We need to share our teachings and work together," said Isobel White. "When we pray, we pray for the Creator or for God, and when we pray, we pray for the same reason, and it's for a good life."

Isobel talks about her reaction to seeing a cartoon character of herself. "I was amazed when I saw the cartoon that Brian created. He did a really good job and I like it. It looks like me."

Isobel and Mariette partnered with illustrator Brian Steeves from Steeves Agencies Inc. to create the illustrations and cartoon character of Elder Isobel White. Grace Dunford, Community Relations Lead, brought it all together and produced the book.

Schools at Kenora Catholic will receive two copies of the book along with a pronunciation guide and a teacher overview. "We want our teachers and students to use the books every time they come to a feast or a pow wow. We want our students to fully understand the significance of the sacred celebrations, and the traditional items and be able to learn something new and fully participate in the celebrations," said Mariette Martineau.

The team is set to host a first reading of the book at École Ste-Marguerite Bourgeoys on September 19th for a Grade 4 Northern Studies class. Brian Steeves will read the voices of the characters and Isobel White will read for herself.

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