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GNS: Métis Week at Crescent Valley School

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As part of a University of Alberta course EDU 596, Métis Foundational Knowledge, Crescent Valley educators, Paula Murphy and RaeAnne Miller, created a K-7 resource for Métis Week: Métis Week . . . And Beyond!

“When we started this project, we were so excited to combine three of our interests: graduate studies, teaching, and our Métis heritage. We hope that our students and staff can have a deeper understanding of our Métis history, dances, music, and culture and that they can share this knowledge with their family, friends, and communities,”  says RaeAnne Miller.

Assistant Principal Murphy and Grade 5 teacher Ms. Miller want to acknowledge that people are on their own journeys with Indigenous Education, and the implementation of Teacher Quality Standard 5, Leadership Quality Standard 5, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. They wanted to create a resource that meets teachers where they are at. By that, they want teachers to use what they are comfortable with, and do what works best with their class.

The Métis Nation of Alberta declared the week surrounding November 16th as “Métis Week.” November 16th is a day that has significance to many Métis people across Canada as a day to remember and honour the dedication and sacrifices of Louis Riel for the Métis Nation (Rupertsland Institute, 2021). During Metis Week at Crescent Valley School, students engaged in ‘Toe-Tapping’ Tuesday. Classes learned the history of the Métis dance, some basic steps, and toe-tapped to some fiddle music. It would not be a celebration of Métis peoples if the school didn’t learn about jigging, the fast-paced and community-centred dance with special guests from the Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers, welcomed in collaboration with the Hinton Friendship Centre.

Students and staff watched the performance and later practiced Métis jigging steps to then dance to the Red River Jig along with their special guests. The Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers were formed in the fall of 1985, with young people who were taking dance classes at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre (CNFC), Edmonton. Over the years, the dancers have been promoting traditional Métis dances, therefore reflecting the cultural heritage brought by mixed ancestry (French, Scottish, Irish and First Nations).

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