7th Annual Fall Harvest themed ‘Reducing Our Carbon Foot Print on Mother Earth’

Kendra Still, Natalie Hastings and Cody Leeson of the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre serve up zucchini carrot apple muffins to Grade 3/4 students from Shawanosowe School. photo by Robin Burridge

M’CHIGEENG—Kenjgewin Teg Education Institute (KTEI) held its 7th Annual Fall Harvest last Thursday at the M’Chigeeng Powwow grounds. Even though Mother Nature rained down throughout the day, the event still had a tremendous turn out this year with a total of 54 educational harvesting, arts, recreation and teaching stations.

This was a record high attendance with just over 1,200 students, parents, teachers, networks, visitors to Manitoulin Island and community members participating in the ever growing annual event.   

Grade 1 students from Little Current Public School chat with Manitoulin Streams Project Coordinator Seija Deschenes about stream restoration projects.
Grade 1 students from Little Current Public School chat with Manitoulin Streams Project Coordinator Seija Deschenes about stream restoration projects.

The Fall Harvest is an educational event that encourages lifelong learning as the theme this year was ‘Reducing Our Carbon Footprint on Mother Earth’ to promote incorporating healthy and sustainable practices. The harvesting stations utilized locally grown vegetables, fruits and traditional plants/ medicines. As part of an eco-friendly school, KTEI always promote eco-friendly practices.

Mark and Patrica Panamick cook scone over an open fire while hordes of children patiently wait to sample.
Mark and Patrica Panamick cook scone over an open fire while hordes of children patiently wait to sample.

The event involved the commitment of First Nation organizations and affiliates of UCCMM, staff, students, community partners and community members offering a range of ongoing demonstrations, workshops, stations, teachings and booths promoting local foods, harvesting practices, Indigenous Ojibwe indigenous games and teachings such as various sampling stations, medicine teas, cold remedies, traditional female/male drum and dance demonstrations and canning.

KTEI welcomed back Science North allowing participants to build wind turbine and solar panel models to demonstrate green energy conservation. This year there were 15 additional booths representing local agriculture livestock that produces local commodities such as food and fiber, beekeepers with taste testing of natural honey and beeswax, a Laurentian University expert on harvesting wild mushrooms, Raising Spirit’s cedar and plantain oils and Manitoulin Trapping Council with their newly designed booth that showcased furs and harvesting wild game.

Trapper Norman Assiniwe talks to  students about the different types of traps.
Trapper Norman Assiniwe talks to
students about the different types of traps.

A total of 18 schools attended from the Sudbury, North Shore and Manitoulin Island District, with a total of over 1,000 students including: Assiginack Public School, C.C. McLean Public School, Central Manitoulin Public School, Lakeview School, Manitoulin Secondary School, Mnidoo Mnising Kinoomage Gamig, M’Chigeeng Binoojinhs Gamgoohns, Walden Public School, KTEI Secondary School, St. Josephs School, Shawanosowe School, Lively District Secondary School, Little Current Public School, Confederation Secondary School, S. Geiger Public School, Chelmsford Public School, A.B. Ellis Public School and N’Swakamok Friendship Centre Alternative School.

This annual KTEI Fall Harvest would not be a success without the commitment from community partners including M’Chigeeng First Nation, UCCM Anishnaabe Police, Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, The Great Spirit Circle Trail, M’Chigeeng Capital Projects/Public Works, M’Chigeeng Health Centre, Anishnabemowin Gamig, UCCMM Tribal Council, Lakeview School and Ojibwe Cultural Foundation.

Grade 3 and 4 C.C. McLean students learn about regalia from men’s traditional dancer Tim McGregor.
Grade 3 and 4 C.C. McLean students learn about regalia from men’s traditional dancer Tim McGregor.

The Fall Harvest started seven years from a tradition borrowed from Seven Generations Educational Institute in Fort Frances, Ontario.  The intent of Fall Harvest is to promote sustainable an healthy practices as it relates to growing and harvesting local whole foods back to the vitality it had with families 50 years ago.  The promotion of gardens and using the local plants and medicines is integral to living healthy and balanced lives for all people and continuing to learn our history, traditions and practices of the Anishinabek people. There is always plenty of food to sample, friends to meet, and laughs to be had with one another.  Based on the feedback from students, teachers and the Manitoulin community it was a roaring success.  Hats off to the KTEI team under the lead of Tonya Armstrong.

Ray Francis with the UCCMM Justice Program helps an AB Ellis Public School Student make medicine wheels.
Ray Francis with the UCCMM Justice Program helps an AB Ellis Public School Student make medicine wheels.
C.C. McLean Public School SK and JK students play drums with Danielle Roy-McDonald.
C.C. McLean Public School SK and JK students play drums with Danielle Roy-McDonald.