C. Stevens

Bush Cooking

Today we went over how to start a fire using natural fire starters around the woods.  We also went over how children went out into the woods to collect fire wood as part of our responsibly growing up as Mi’kmaq.  We hung up our moose meat for slow cooking and we made baked potato’s fired in butter as a side. 

This is one lesson of many bellow will be the brief explanation of each.  

Food - Cattail produces more edible starch than almost any green plant.  Cattail is more nutritious than rice, or potatoes but the fibers are not to be eating. You must extract the starch and not eat the fibers to avoid getting sick. 

Fire starting -The dried spikes make for excellent torches when soaked in animal fat or alcohol. only soak the top of the cat tail.  the torch can last for hours.    The end-of-season fluffy cattails are the ideal tinder.

Medicine - The medicinal uses of cattails include poultices made from the split and bruised roots that can be applied to cuts, wounds, burns, stings, and bruises. The ash of the burned cattail leaves can be used as an antiseptic or styptic for wounds. A small drop of a honey-like excretion, often found near the base of the plant, can be used as an antiseptic for small wounds and toothaches.

The root is also used for sore throat.  Dried the root is cut into pieces and chewed to relive pain.

The root can also be dried and than grind into a fine powered.  The powered is than mixed with goose grease. The sab is used as antibiotic cream and mild pain reliver. 

Following is part of our Drum Group performance.  this young student with the help of her mother and grand parent took my idea of singing have you seen the rain and made into reality.  Our students take traditional songs/dance and preform.  they also use a very ancient language and use it into their everyday lives.  They use the ancient language into actives that are engaging in a modern context where they are more related to.  We have also preformed AC/DC Thunder Struck in Mi’kmaq

Any song can be translated and be a class project.  This way they can relate to modern songs and use a language in a meaningful way

The Mikmaq invented hockey sticks. It is well known that non natives purchaced Micmac sticks from the mikmaq who lived in darthmoght and halifax early in our history.  One company took the sticks and mass produced them and changing the name to hockey sticks after the game.  

the first pictures are the classes harvesting the wood.  it is very simple you find a a tree with a natural bend on the bottom.   you cut it down and begin to cut it in the shape of a hockey stick.  the last few pictures are my own kids finihing off the Mic Mac stick at home for our culture class.  

The studnets prior to taking a feild trip to skating had lessons on how the Mikmaq invented hockey and how they made bone skates.  the skates were made from the femer bone of the moose and sharpned to points and laces attached to them.  

Mewisultipnik Mijua'jijk Kiskuk, kisi-tu'tip ajioqjiminey pitwey (The childeren harvested Black berrys and made Tradional Tea.  students were given lessson on the orgins of black berrys which came from euorpeans and the plant got naturlized in the new world.  The Mikmaq used the berrys for tea to treat stomach problems, diarrhea and to clean the blood.  Students were also given strict lessons about never to consume anytihgn with looks like berrys unless it is identified and with adult suppervision.  The term Mewisultionik (havrvesting berrys) was a way of life for young Mikmaq in durring summer months in the past (before european contact and after euorpean contact).  this was the primary responsiblty of childeren along with gathering firewood for the family.  Many of us in the our 40s remeber harvesting berrys all summer with parents or grand parents.  

The ESK students have been working on a school project all of September/October.  We have made a pin’jkan which is a traditional Mi’kmaq shelter.  The material was harvested by the students and constructed by the students.  The only man-made material we used was the twine used to secure the structure together. 

I have discovered that you cannot teach culture, you have to experience culture.  No one can not teach you to be Mi’kmaq or how to do Mi’kmaq things but rather you have to go out and just practice your culture in an active classroom room outside.   So twice a week we experience our culture.   An active classroom where you learn by doing and not by reading or listening.  We learn our culture is by doing.  

The students all had lesson on what the difference was between what a teepee is and its origins and what a Pijikan is.  A pijikan is a traditional Mikmaq shelter and it had a heated floor.  The floor was dug up and large stones placed inside.  The heat from the fire would heat the stones and retain the heat long after the fire went out.   

This project changed the student’s mindset significantly.  Much more than expected.  Once the basic frame of the shelter was finished the students began playing house inside the frame.  Only when asked if they were playing house they replied “no” we aren’t playing house were playing Lnu.  Lnu is what distinguishes Mikmaq as a people.  They were pretending to make primitive fire, preparing and skinning animals, and hunting animals and fish.  They also pretended to pay to the creator before having their fake meal.  This how concept is a breakthrough. Our students love their culture so much they pretend and play within their culture. 

This is our respected elder Sugar Poulette teaching the students how to play the Mi’kmaq game of waltes.  the students are taught how to play and when historically would be times to use such a game .  

on instructions on how to play waltes please click on the link below.

https://www.cbu.ca/indigenous-affairs/unamaki-college/mikmaq-resource-centre/miscellany/the-game-of-waltes/

Dare to Dance

Each year, to 70 schools and more than 14,500 kids, teachers and staff participating from across the province during the national dance week of April 22-29th

The challenge is for a school to have their students (and staff) dance for 20 minutes some time during the week. 

This year the ESK school participated and had speakers set up outside for the week.  Each day the music had different themes.  one day would be powwow songs, traditional, kojuia,  dance, hip hop and any many others 

Very fun and everyone enjoyed

In this lesson we teach the students about Dream Catchers.  We not only teach the students to make Dream Catchers but also make sure the students know where they came from and their meaning.  The Dream Catcher is the most commonly known symbol for first nation cultures.  It is also the most commercialized therefore may people do know where it comes from. 

In Ojibwe legend there was a spider woman (asibikaasi).  She took care of the Ojibwe and watched over them.  Soon the Ojibwe began to spread out over turtle island and it was impossible for the spider woman to protect all of them because there where stretched over the 4 corners of turtle island.  She called them back and made a hoop from twigs.  She than used her silk to weave a web inside the hoop. Her web was magical and would catch any bad spirts trying to pass through.  There would always be a hole in the center where good can pass through.  The spider woman instructed her people to hand them in their homes near an opening to protect them and keep them connected to her wherever they were. 

Materials - collect twigs and bend them and tie the ends or use paper plates and punch holes.  yarn, and art feathers. 

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