June is an important month at the Centre for Indigenous Studies (CIS) as it is National Indigenous History Month. In support of this, Fairbank Memorial Community School in Toronto, reached out to Assistant Professor Brenda Wastasecoot to extend an invitation to their school in honour of the special occasion.
Professor Wastasecoot, along with Outreach & Communications Coordinator, Alexandra Pennell, visited the school on Monday, June 26th to present a talk and interactive lesson of Canada's Indigenous Peoples to three elementary school classes. Professor Wastasecoot brought five traditional drums and rattles and incorporated a drumming circle into her presentation. She led the group in the circle while playing and singing a number of Indigenous songs, such as The Strong Women's Song, the Bear Song and the Cherokee Morning Song. Prof. Wastasecoot explained the significance of the instruments, materials and songs to the children, as well as a bit of background as to who the Indigenous Peoples of Canada are. Alexandra Pennell read a traditional Ojibwe story, made public by , called How the Bat Came to Be. To conclude, Alexandra passed around CIS and Every Child Matters buttons for the group, and Prof. Wastasecoot sang them a welcome song to Turtle Island. The students were also given an opportunity to share their favourite part of the presentation.
Amongst the students was Prof. Wastasecoot's grandson who assisted her in leading the drumming circles.