Students flock to Yk for 10th annual heritage fair

Students flock to Yk for 10th annual heritage fair
The wining students of this year’s Territorial Heritage Fair Showcase display their prizes.Photo: Monique Marinier.

Traditional medicine, family history, snowshoes and wolves were just a few of the topics students presented on at this year’s 10th anniversary of the Territorial Heritage Fair Showcase.

More than 40 students from middle and high schools across the territory were in Yellowknife May 9-11 for the annual heritage fair after coming out winners at their own regional or school fairs.

Booths were set up for judging at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre on the Friday, though the students were in Yellowknife for multiple days to experience the city and explore the museum’s cultural offerings.

Monique Marinier organized the territorial event this year and said the heritage fair is an important interaction for students to meet and learn from their peers in other regions.

“It’s beautiful to see the kids interacting and connecting. We’re trying to connect all of the different regions of the North, not just to showcase the projects that they’ve created,” she said.

Marinier said it’s evident each year that the students are becoming more creative and growing in their ability to research and present on a given topic.

“The kids are improving by leaps and bounds. It’s more than wikipedia.com. They’re doing the research and practicing their presentations,” she said. “If you speak to any of the judges, you will see that the kids, the minute you show interest in their project, just light up.”

Former organizer Mindy Willett said it’s the students’ personal connection to the material that makes the heritage fair different from other course material.

“All the research skills that we want kids to learn are there, but it’s more special because the kids are excited about their project because they got to choose their topic. Then they go into further depth and work harder because they care about it,” she said.

Students spent four days in Yellowknife exploring the city's cultural offerings

Photo: Steven Lee

Students spent four days in Yellowknife exploring the city’s cultural offerings

The fair is also a good opportunity to “bridge the gap” between the community and schools, Willett said.

“We have a history of residential schools. Not everybody feels comfortable to go into the schools, but when their child or their grandchild has done a project that they’ve participated in or shared some knowledge towards, they come in and they check it out. The kids are so happy when their families are there supporting them,” she said.

The overall winner for the Territorial Heritage Fair Showcase was Mia MacInnis for her project entitled L’histoire de ma Famille.

The two winners of the History Canada certificates were Rae Panayi for Le Voyage d’une Pagageuse and Mary Chocolate and Kaitlyn Taylor for Uses of Traditional Medicine.

Minister of Education Jackson Lafferty was on hand to present this year’s Minister Awards, which are handed out to individuals in each participating region for the presentation that best represents Northern heritage and culture.

In the Beaufort Delta, Dwight Stefansson won for his presentation called The Legacy of Vilhjalmur. In the Sahtu, Arianna Laboucan won for My Late Grandmother, Janet Grandjambe. The Deh Cho’s Sage Dimsdale won for Hip Hop Dance vs. Drum Dance.

In the South Slave, Jessica Tordiff and Eyzaah Arnason-Bousza won for their presentation on Métis culture. The Tlicho’s Jayanna Wedawin won for Traditional Tlicho Footwear. And in Yellowknife, Stanley Mackenzie won for his presentation on snowshoes.

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