National Aboriginal History Month

Posted: June 15, 2017 - 14:05 , by Sarah Elliott
Education & Engagement, Indigenous | Comments () | Comment
an indigenous man wearing hip-hop clothing stands with his hands raised, giving instructions

By Bella McWatch, Kiowa Wind Memorial (KWM) Indigenous Youth Intern

In June, the entire country will be filled with festivities to commemorate National Aboriginal History Month. The ROM Learning Department is taking this opportunity to continue its ongoing reconciliation efforts through participation by offering Indigenous special events for school groups throughout the month.

Our celebrations began at the end of May for high school groups so that a field trip to the ROM did not interfere with their exam schedule in June. We hosted an Indigenous Hip Hop Dance session with Tristan “Bboy Tanmanitou” Martell in the beautiful Queen’s Park Rotunda, where he taught students a blend of his Plains Cree style of grass dance with hip hop dance.

Upcoming special events are sold-out! They include a 45-minute workshop led by Indigenous artists and knowledge carriers, plus a 45-minute guided tour of the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture and the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada taught by ROM Teachers and Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teachers.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Honouring Indigenous Spirit: Social Drumming

Sue and Marija stand together, smiling, in traditional dressStudents will come and celebrate around the social drum through an interactive drumming session in the Earth Rangers Studio, located in Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, with Sue Croweagle, who is a two-spirited Blackfoot from the Piikani First Nation in southern Alberta. Marjia Bonaparte, who is Hungarian and was born in what is now known as Serbia, will accompany Sue in a 45-minute drumming session that is rooted in the values of healing, peace, and gratitude from within ourselves and for others. 

Sue has established a female drum group called the Eagle Woman Singerz and performs throughout the GTA and surrounding area. Marjia, along with fellow members, have had the honour of performing with Buffy Sainte Marie, Alanis Obamsowin, Minaaki Awards, Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous Women’s Conference, World Pride, Female Eye Festival, and various other performances.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Honouring Indigenous Resilience: Okichitaw Martial Arts

an indigenous man wearing a red headband stands with his fist raisedStudents will get physical with Master Okimakahn George Lépine, a Plains Cree-Assiniboine from Manitoba. Students will experience a 45-minute Okichitaw Martial Arts educational session that offers a unique opportunity to experience and learn the historical applications as well as an exclusive understanding of Indigenous Plains Combat and Martial Arts. This session, which takes place in the historic Queen's Park Rotunda, will include a historical/current awareness presentation on Indigenous Plains Warfare, practices, and applications. 

About Our Indigenous Education Partners:

Tristan Blackbird Martell, ‘Bboy Tanmantiou’ is Cree nation from Waterhen Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan. Tristan is a traditional men’s grass dancer, and a student of the West Coast funk style of boogaloo and tutting. Tristan was inspired by the Redpower Squad Bboy dance crew and various First Nation b-boys and b-girls representing in Edmonton, Alberta. He then developed his style of dance from the underground house and electronic music scene, and made his way to developing the freestyle and foundation process of the Toronto House dance step. He has performed for Kehewin Native Dance Theatre, various Native Canadian centres, visiting school programs, and has toured across Canada studying various styles of street dance, entering competitions, and teaching the youth about dance and traditions..

Sue Croweagle is a two-spirited Blackfoot from the Piikani First Nation in southern Alberta.  She has been involved in her culture as an Indigenous singer, dancer and composer. She works in the community as a hand drum facilitator. She has established a female drum group called the Eagle Woman Singerz and performs thru out the GTA and area. 

She was honored to have her group perform with Buffy Sainte Marie, Alanis Obamsowin, Joseph Boyden, Minaaki Awards, Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous Womens Conference, World Pride, Female Eye Festival and various other performances.

Through her singing she finds healing and peace and gratitude within herself and for others. She continues to facilitate and share her knowledge of songs and teachings to others with the notion as to keep our first nations culture alive.

George Lépine has extensive training and knowledge of martial arts such as Japanese Judo, a 6th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon-Do, and a 6th Degree Black Belt in Hap Ki-Do. Elders in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario gave him the responsibility as Chief Instructor (Okimakahn Kiskeno Humakew) to establish the Okichitaw Martial Arts System and Federation. This System has been officially identified as an Indigenous Martial Art (within Canada) through the World Martial Arts Union (WoMAU) and is also now recognized through Patronage with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO).