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Press Releases

CECCE Kicks Off National Indigenous History Month with Traditional Canoe Launch

June 1, 2018, OTTAWATo mark National Indigenous History Month, the École secondaire catholique Garneau school community was at Petrie Island for the unveiling and launch of the students’ first traditional handmade bark canoe.

The 12-foot craft was built with the help of Christian Pilon, an authentic voyageur and Métis Franco-Ontarian. It is made primarily of bark and natural materials harvested from the forest, such as birch, cedar, bear grease, and spruce roots and gum.

A number of other festivities took place during this celebration of Indigenous and Franco-Ontarian traditions. Students had the opportunity to learn about and try out various Indigenous practices under the guidance of First Nations members on site. “This is a diverse and enriching program that gives students a chance to discover the past and present of the people whose ancestors have lived here for millenia,” said Johanne Lacombe, CECCE Chair.

“Through the process of building the canoe, students developed a sense of collaboration and learned about Indigenous culture from a place of open-mindedness and tolerance, values the board holds dear,” added Réjean Sirois, Director of Education. The canoe-building program is under the auspices of the Indigenous Education Strategy, which was created in 2007 by the Ontario Ministry of Education to, among other things, increase all students’ knowledge of Indigenous histories, cultures and perspectives.

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