The Board of Education is pleased to take this opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate some of its successes over the past few years. Beginning in 2015, with the guidance of the membership, the Board and its Trustees identified a need for capacity-building and creating a cultural sense of place for Nawash youth.
It was determined that curricula and resources be developed and taught that better reflect the unique culture and history of the Nawash community. The Board hired Kevin Kuipers, a teacher with experience in the areas of First Nations curricula and resource development, to undertake this challenge. Over the last 5 years many resources have been developed and are now being utilized both at Kikendaasogamig Elementary School and in the broader community.
The first major project was a grade 7/8 textbook, Chippewas of Nawash: History 7/8, Volume 1, detailing both general Anishinaabek and local community history. This project was thoroughly researched and vetted with input from community members and language speakers. These topics are now taught annually to students in grades 7/8, providing an important historical and cultural foundation to Nawash youth. This book will soon be available to the membership. Additional age-appropriate history resources have also been developed for grades K-6, again with the purpose of building capacity and creating a cultural sense of place.
The focus on resource development then shifted towards ecology and knowledge of local species of animals and plants. An agreement was created with both Nyle Miigizi Johnston and TakingItGlobal, in order to incorporate Nyle’s natural artwork into our resources. Children’s board-books were designed to promote early literacy, familiarization with Anishinaabemowin, and local ecology. Some of these board books have already been distributed to families with toddlers and preschoolers, and more books are on their way.
A 256-page comprehensive community field guide, titled A Field Guide to Neyaashiinigmiing and the Saugeen Peninsula and published by Firefly Books, has been created for the membership to promote further ecological and cultural knowledge. Co-authored by Kevin Kuipers and Jarmo Jalava (local ecologist and SON advisor), and with extensive community input, the field guide is unique within Canada for its integration of ecological, historical and cultural knowledge for a specific First Nations community. This book will only be available to membership households, and will be coming very soon!
Lastly, a children’s (ages 5+) nature book is in the final stages of development, and is meant to complement the more adult-oriented field guide.
We are very proud of these accomplishments, and look forward to continued development of additional resources which meet the educational needs and inquiry of our membership.