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July’s Cultural Calendar

July is known in some nations as The Moulting Moon.

Tribal Journey 2023:

July is also the time of the year when Indigenous communities are getting their canoe families ready for Tribal Journey 2023 – this year’s journey is Paddle to Muckleshoot: Honoring Our Warriors.

Tribal Journey is a beautiful two-week event where Indigenous communities have canoe families that travel the waters, all while stopping to pick up neighbouring canoe families. They pull together until they reach their destination. Witnessing an ocean full of canoes lined up to be invited to come ashore and share food, lodging, drumming, and singing is a powerful image. Every year it is a different destination, a community that will host all the canoe families. The final Protocol is where the Nations will don their regalia and share their songs and dances, starting from the community that is the furthest away and ending with the host community. Tribal Journey is a beautiful and powerful experience that every Indigenous person should have the honour of witnessing!

Land Gathering, Camping, etc.

Families are out on the land gathering, camping, celebrating and harvesting while also preparing for the end of the summer/fall hunt. In July moose are often found in rivers/lakes as they are taking refuge from flies. Saskatoons and low-bush cranberries are ready to be harvested at the end of July!

Craft/ Sensory Ideas:

  1. Host craft and sensory time in the outdoors.

    1. If it is raining have a covered area outside where children can still do these activities but experience the sights, smells, and sounds the rain brings.

    2. Children can learn how to dehydrate flowers and make dyes out of plants in their garden to use for their crafting projects while outside. How to Dry Flowers

    3. They can also learn how to braid sweetgrass, dry tobacco, sage and cedar while learning traditional protocols.

    4. Host a craft making workshop online or in person for families and elders. Use a craft project to introduce the delicate topic of the residential school system and the topic of reconciliation. This is also a great craft to use if you are hosting Traditional Parenting Training for families.

  2. Craft ideas could be:

    1. Orange shirt decorating, or hosting a contest to design a logo for your sites 2023 Orange shirts

  3. Moccasin vamp making – encourage each family to create a moccasin vamp so that you can build a truth and reconciliation display at your site or host agency

  4. Creating an orange star blanket – invite families to make their own square

Reconciliation Flower Beadwork Pin

Each site was gifted an example craft created by Metis Elder Linda Vanwirengen that could be used during July, or any month of the year. The orange flower pin was created to remember those lost to the Indian Residential school system and to honour the survivors. The flower is a well-respected pattern and symbol in most beadwork throughout Indigenous Nations. Orange is associated with the Every Child Matters Campaign and Truth and Reconciliation movement. For additional information from Metis Elder Linda Vanwirengen: Reconciliation Pins.pdf

Cooking/ Food Prep:

  • Invite an elder/knowledge keeper/traditional chef to demonstrate how to cut wild meat and fish in front of the children.

  • This activity can help children learn different parts of the fish and see where the fish eggs are kept etc. This is a great activity to do outside as this is where it would traditionally be done.

  • Have the children learn how to dehydrate different fruits and vegetables such as berries and corn.

Science Topics to Explore for July:

  • Identification of traditional plants and medicines

  • Experiments with water such as melting ice cubes, making a beach in a bottle, and an ocean nature table.

  • Experiments with Sand, such as: making homemade quicksand, making rocks, identifying tracks in the sand, etc.

  • Have magnifying glasses outside for the children to use to look at items in nature.

Playful additions:

Building Block/ Construction Area:

  • Bring the blocks/construction materials outdoors on a picnic blanket. Encourage children to add items from nature as they feel inspired to.

Dramatic Play Area:

  • Add a real canoe or make a canoe out of boxes to add to your dramatic play area. Include paddles, nets and things you would find on a canoe, make a crab pot so the children can pretend they are casting the pot in the ocean and catching crabs, shovels and buckets, and shells for the children to pretend they are digging clams etc. big pots and aprons, oven mitts to pretend they are cooking the food they catch over a fire.

Thi Lelum Smuneem AHS

Art Centre:

  • Bring art outdoors – this can be done by hanging paper, canvas, or material on fences, at a picnic table, on blankets etc. Be creative! Children can use spray bottles, large paint brushes, sponges, glue and items from nature (etc.) to make works of art.

Thi Lelum Smuneem AHS

  • Host artisans such as carvers, basket makers, and other Indigenous crafters, outside so the children can watch the traditional handywork be made.

Reading Area:

  • Have a canvas tent, teepee, and tarp outside and fill it with pillows and books so that the children can have a quiet place to read outside.

Conayt AHS

Outdoor Ideas:

  • Have an Elder/Knowledge Keeper make a hide stretcher in front of the children so they can watch the process of a hide being prepared throughout the summer.

Clay Creations Outdoor

Circle time: Host circle time in different outdoor venues to show the children flexibility in their environment.

This can be in the:

  • Playground

  • Beach/Lake Park

  • At a historical site

  • Out on the land/traditional territory etc.

Use the environment to influence your choice of songs and activities.

Conayt AHS

Elder Involvement:

Invite Elders/Knowledge Keepers to demonstrate different traditional skills. This could be at a special evening for families, during the day with the children (and video recorded to be posted on your site's social media page or emailed to families). You can also make the video into a CD or book to be sent home to families etc.

Have an Elder/Knowledge Keeper in to make birch bark canoes with children and families then go on a walk to float them in a nearby area.

Parent Involvement Ideas: Parent Board:

  • Have each family send in a picture of their favourite place, as well as an activity to do in the summer.

  • Have a different parent each week lead an outdoor activity of their choice.

  • Have guest speakers/social media posts/emails to talk to children/families about water and boating safety as well as Sun Safety.

  • This could be a public health nurse, coast guard, lifeguard, RCMP officer, Elder etc.

  • Offer the opportunity for parents to take the boating license/safety course.

  • Find out about reconciliation activities in your community and invite your site and families contribute.

Outreach/Activity Kits:

Conayt AHS Lending Library
  1. Create a lending library: Fill it with things such as stories, sensory bins, playdough recipes and ingredients, clay and rollers, age-appropriate family games, fishing poles and other outdoor items that families may not have. Weekly-themed craft and baking kits can be added. These can include items such as pine needle basket-making supplies, bird feeder-making supplies, beading and dream catcher-making supplies etc.

  2. Send home items from the garden with recipes.

  3. Host a special day in celebration of the Summer Season.

    1. Ideas for this can be:

      1. A family movie night outside or a cultural performance outdoors.

      2. a traditional activities demonstration as an event! This could be moose hide preparation, canning jams and jellies, drying traditional medicines, how to cut and dry meat and fish, how to cook smoked salmon on cedar planks, crafts such as moose hair tufting, how to dye moose hair and porcupine quills etc., how to set up a canvas tent or a teepee, and teepee pole teachings.

    2. An evening around the fire somewhere in the community with traditional foods and storytellers.

    3. An afternoon family event at a field with traditional games, burlap sack races, tug of war, Metis cart races, string games, card and dice games, hand games, canoe races, teepee building contests etc.

    4. Take children/families/Elders out for a fun-filled summer day outdoors:

    5. A day at the beach/local lake/river, a whale watching trip, a trip to the community garden, berry picking or medicine gathering, a day out on the land preparing fish and meat, a trip to a historical site, a day at a special event (such as a festival or Jamboree or a Pow Wow).

Clay Creations Outdoor
Victoria Native Friendship Classroom

Lofty Ideas:

Decorate your loft to resemble a canoe and hang fishing nets with sea life (like shells, clams, octopus, crabs, a variety of fish, etc.). Have paddles, sunglasses, fishing hats, and life jackets for the children to use to add to their play.

Resources and related articles:

Recommended Children’s Books/Resource Books:

Book of the Month:

The author uses simple wording but gives strong statements that deliver the messages of loving, nurturing and wishing the best for our next generation. This version of the story includes Plains Cree Translation.

Title: “I hope / Nipakoseyimon” Author: Monique Gray-Smith Plains

Cree Translator: Delores Grayeyes Sand

Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard To Purchase: I hope / Nipakoseyimon

Recipe of the Month:

All AHSABC sites were gifted Wabanaki Indigenous-made Maple Syrup from New Brunswick. Here is a fun traditional inspired recipe from our Eastern Relations at the Tobique First Nation. Sage and Maple Whipped Butter on Bannock

Traditional Foods Link: Baked Walleye

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