What Are Cultural Connections?
Updated: Feb 8
Introducing Cultural Connections
“We believe …that children have a right to learn their respective Aboriginal language(s) and histories, and adults have a responsibility to pass on the instructions that the Creator gave in the beginning of time as are reflected in our languages, cultural beliefs and cultural practices.”
-from the 12 Statements of Beliefs and Values About Children in the Aboriginal Head Start Principles and Guidelines
Providing Aboriginal children with a positive sense of themselves as First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, and building the knowledge of traditional languages and experiences of culture for them and their families is at the heart of Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) programs.
When the pandemic hit and social gatherings and events came to a halt, we decided to offer a virtual place for children, families and staff to continue participating in their communities’ cultures. Cultural Connections has become a way to support the sharing of each other’s traditional experiences with AHS programs across the country.
What are Cultural Connections?
Cultural Connections are one-hour zoom sessions presented in collaboration with AHSABC. The goal is to keep Aboriginal children and their families connected with culture and language during a time when they can’t gather together. Sessions are suitable for all ages. Presentations range from events such as storytelling, traditional dancing, puppet shows, singing, art, hoop dancing and much more.
Why are Cultural Connections Important?
Cultural Connections provide opportunities for Elders, Knowledge Keepers, cultural leaders and AHS community members to share their knowledge and teachings, while also staying safe during the pandemic. Everyone can login to the Zoom gathering to see the weekly presentations on Thursdays, from 1 to 2 pm (PST).
Everyone is welcome: children, mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles, grandparents and Elders, teachers, staff, and community members will enjoy these cultural activities that support healthy practices and provide inspiration for Indigenous Early Learning programs.
In January, Cultural Connections featured Powwow Dancer, Shyama-Priya, an international performer for over 20 years. She led the group through easy yoga movements, then introduced the drumbeat and how to do the basic intertribal steps in powwow dance styles.
Next up was a fabulous presentation from Theland Kicknosway. Theland is an AHS Graduate from the Makonsag Aboriginal Head Start in Ontario. He is Wolf Clan of the Potawatami and Cree Nation, and a member of Walpole Island, Bkejwanong Territory in Southern Ontario. He has offered his voice and songs for the Indian Residential School Survivors in 2008 and in the closing of the TRC in 2015. In 2018, Theland became the youngest Indspire Award Recipient under Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.
Multi-talented Theland led the gathering through storytelling, flute playing and hoop dancing. At only 17 years old, Theland’s message seemed wise beyond his years. He encourages other Indigenous youth to be proud of their culture by telling them they “were born to make an impact on the world.” We hope he will come back for another session.
Artist, Deb Crow is a Syilx Nation member living in the Similkameen and an Art Barn facilitator for IndigenEYEZ. Her background is in art therapy and she loves using colour and imaginary play to connect us to our inner world. Deb guided the group through a fun drawing and colouring exercise to learn about ourselves and connect with each other.
More Cultural Connections are coming soon – watch for Cooking with Kookum coming in February 2021.
Joining Cultural Connections
All you need is the login information from AHSABC and a strong internet connection. Participation is encouraged, but you are welcome to watch on mute or with your camera off. Simply contact AHSABC here for login details: https://www.ahsabc.com/contact
To find out about upcoming events, please check our Events page. https://www.ahsabc.com/events
If you have a gift or cultural experience to share with others, please contact Yvette Bolduc at 250-709-9273