TORONTO—Winners from the recent Kenjgewin Teg Regional Heritage Fair, representing two Manitoulin area schools, travelled to the University of Toronto recently to share their projects at the provincial level.
On June 11, three students, Shade Kaiser, age 7, of Lakeview School, Eli Paibomsai, age 6, and Avery Sutherland, also age 6, both of Shawanosowe School, showcased their winning heritage fair projects at the Ontario Provincial Heritage Fair at the William Doo Auditorium along with almost 70 other students from across the province.
Shade’s project was on the grass dance.
“I am of Anishinabe, Haudenosaunee and German descent,” Shade told the judges. “My presentation is on the grass dance. It is one of our oldest forms of dance. I have been a grass dancer since I could walk. Included in my presentation is the origin and meaning of the grass dance, specialty dances, the regalia pieces and information on powwows. Also included are beautiful pictures at various powwows of myself with family and friends. I am proud of my culture and love to share my teachings. I will be adorned in my grass dance regalia and will be willing to teach you a few dance moves.”
Eli Paibomsai’s Heritage Fair presentation was on the sucker fish.
“This project examines the importance of the sucker fish on Anishinabe life,” he said. “While considered a ‘garbage’ fish by many anglers, this project looks at traditional harvesting and preparation methods of suckers. The project further examines the sucker species of Ontario and their range.”
Avery Sutherland gave a historical presentation on ‘Birch Island: Then and Now.’
“My project is about Birch Island: Then and Now and investigates my community’s history,” she explained to the judges. “In this project, I talk about the schools, transportation, homes and buildings, then I compare them to the buildings today. I also talked about what stayed the same through the years.”
“The Ontario Heritage Fairs program is a volunteer initiative based on the belief that engaging children in the history of their communities helps them develop into responsible, well-informed citizens,” states a press release from Canada’s Heritage Fairs. “Aimed at students aged 9 to 15, the Fairs inspire young people to explore personal and collective Canadian experiences in any number of media—displays, painting, sculpture, prose, music or computer-based projects. The delegates at the Provincial Fair represent the more than 20,000 Ontario students who participated in the 2016 Fairs program.”