KTEI 4th annual Fall Harvest rekindles autumn traditions

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M’CHIGEENG—Kenjgewin Teg Education Institute (KTEI) held its 4th annual Fall Harvest last Thursday at the M’Chigeeng First Nation powwow grounds, with nearly 1,000 students, teachers and community members participating in the event.

“This year’s success of Fall Harvest is overwhelming,” KTEI Executive Director Stephanie Roy told The Expositor. “The support of our community partners, the excellent participation from our area schools and the tremendous work done by the planning team lead by Debbie Debassige of KTEI has definitely made our 2013 Fall Harvest one to remember. Even Mother Nature shone on us that day. It’s going to be difficult to outdo ourselves next year.”

The Fall Harvest is funded by KTEI in partnership with Aboriginal and Northern Affairs and Development Canada.

Thirteen schools attended the harvest event, with a total of 860 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 and Little Current Public School.

There were many community partners involved in the Fall Harvest, holding workshops, stations and booths and promoting local food and harvesting practices.

The community partners included KTEI staff and student programs, M’Chigeeng First Nation, UCCM Anishnaabe Police, Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, The Great Spirit Circle Trail, the M’Chigeeng Health Centre, the M’Chigeeng Capital Projects Public Works and Anishnabemowin Gamig.

The booths and workshops included quilting demonstrations, scone making, rock painting, corn harvesting, wild rice harvesting, choke cherry recipes, cedar tea and apple cider making, renewable energy, dried fruit and medicines, a medicine walk, a fish cleaning and cooking station, clay making, drumming circles, a Science North station and presentation on species at risk, traditional games and moose and deer hunting and cleaning.

“The idea for the Fall Harvest originated from the success of another member aboriginal institute located in Northwestern Ontario,” KTEI Director of Business and Training Beverley Roy-Carter explained. “Public participation from our first year, four years ago, was estimated at about 500 people, which has now grown to close to 1,000 people in 2013. Fall Harvest is an educational event to encourage lifelong learning as the fall season was a traditional time of food gathering and harvesting for the upcoming winter season. The activities and booths were planned to capture the interest of all ages: from daycare children, elementary, up to high school and KTEI’s post-secondary students; and of course, the event is free, welcoming to the general public.”

Robin Burridge