Patrick Mitsuing and Jackson Tahuka travel around to bring cultural teachings to schools across the country through a side project called “Pow Wow Times.”
Mitsuing, who is the Indigenous Lead at Chinook’s Edge School Division in Alberta, helped to organize Wahkohtowin Week at Ecole Deer Meadow School located in Olds, Alberta. Wahkohtowin Week created a space for knowledge keepers and Elders to share an Indigenous perspective to education.
“It’s important because almost half of the Indigenous body lives off reserve, many of our Indigenous students are in foster care without access to culture,” said Mitsuing.
“This programming also aids in breaking down the negative stereotypes held towards Indigenous Peoples and moving toward creating healthier relationships.”
Mitsuing brought in Tahuka to share his knowledge with the students during Wahkohtowin Week, with workshops facilitated to teach the Cree language, tipi teachings, regalia making, Inuit culture, Metis jig, powwow singing and storytelling.
In four days, Tahuka taught students, who were mainly non-Indigenous, how to sing in the Cree language.
“I could sing in front of these kids all day long but they wouldn’t understand it unless I teach them the way I was taught,” said Tahuka. “I have to teach them to understand what they are singing and to express themselves.”
A video of Tahuka and the student singing went viral on social media which received a lot of shares. Even Indigenous leaders in Saskatchewan have heard about the work Mitsuing and Tahuka are doing and will be invited into their communities to teach their youth.
“It’s absolutely amazing where this can go,” said Tahuka.