Students at Deninu School in Fort Resolution are feeling a little more connected to their culture after a school-wide heritage fair had them delve into traditional topics like hand games, hunting and jigging.
Students were given free range to choose any heritage-based topic and spent weeks researching for presentations and displays to share what they learned at the school’s heritage fair last Wednesday.
Topics included Canadian Rangers, fishing and Jack Knox – a Wood Buffalo warden from the early 1900s.
Brent Kaulback, assistant superintendent for the South Slave Divisional Education Council, was on hand to judge the heritage projects and said the students’ enthusiasm for their research was further evidence of the importance of inquiry-based learning.
“It’s something the students have an interest in and they are encouraged to go deeper into the research,” he said. “You’re giving the kids different ways to collect that information and share that information. You don’t always have to do it with a pencil and paper.”
Grade 4 and 5 teacher Laura Boucher said the students were “hyped up” to learn more about their heritage and many of them brought that excitement into their homes by getting their parents and siblings involved in the research.
Boucher said the students interviewed elders to learn more about their topics, participated in practices such as hunting, fishing or traditional games as part of their research and visited the historical homes of people like Knox.
“They’re finally proud of their culture,” she said.
Retired nurse Ozell Borden has judged the heritage fair at Deninu for years and said she saw a vast improvement in student confidence and interaction with the judges this year.
“They’re very open to tell you about their culture and their heritage, which is awesome, really, because you have kids with such an interest in their history and that comes out now,” she said.
The first place winner of the heritage fair will go on to present their research at the territorial heritage fair in Yellowknife from May 8 to 11.
The heritage fair was followed by a career fair in the afternoon that introduced the high school students to potential post-secondary options at Aurora College and employment options with various organizations and businesses around the territory.
Deninu heritage fair winners:
1st place: Alexa Mandeville, Traditional Foods
2nd place: Aiden Moes, Jack Knox
3rd place (tie): Issac Simon – Berries
and Michelle Lafferty – Jigging