Dreamcatcher memories
Students recall highlights of trip to conference

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Oct 29/99) - Dozens of students from around the Deh Cho travelled to Edmonton earlier this month for the Dreamcatchers conference.

An annual event, Dreamcatchers offers a series of cultural and educational workshops.

Kakisa Lake students Jennifer Simba, Terry Simba and Melaine Simba all made the trip again this year. They have been attending the conference regularly for the past five years, according to Jennifer, a Grade 12 student.

Knowing exactly what she was in for, Jennifer signed up for a HA HA HA workshop. One of her favourites, facilitated by Travis Dugas, teaches students that laughter is the key to life, she explained.

Terry, a Grade 10 student, said the sports activities workshop gave them an opportunity to learn more about teamwork while playing floor hockey and volleyball.

For Terry, going to the West Edmonton Mall has come to be a "been there, done that" scenario.

"It's kind of boring now," she admitted.

The highlight for her? "Meeting other students," she said.

Terry, Jennifer and Melaine also took a create-a-craft workshop and made a dreamcatcher -- not their first, either.

"They were better this time," Jennifer laughed.

Robyn McLeod and Resha Korotash-Reynolds, of Deh Gah school in Fort Providence, made their way to a career fair workshop. There, they learned about jobs that exist in Alberta, what they involve and how much they pay. Salary is an important factor, McLeod admitted.

"Once in a while it is, when it comes down to it," she said.

Korotash-Reynolds said she inquired about a military career and would possibly consider it in the future.

McLeod's career may lie in the entertainment field. She also attended a workshop entitled Overcome the Dream of Becoming an Actor. Nathaniel Arcand, an actor on the CBC television series North of 60, told the students about his personal experiences and those of some of his friends, she noted.

If acting isn't her thing, perhaps dancing will be. She picked up a few moves from the Metis Cultural Dancers while at the conference.

"They showed us square dances, the drop of brandy, the duck dance..." she said.

After all the fund-raising the students did to earn their way to Edmonton, it was worth it, they said.

"Definitely, it was a lot of fun," said Korotash-Reynolds.

Charles Yohin school student Rosanne Konisenta, of Nahanni Butte, recalled her Dreamcatcher experience in an essay (the following are some excerpts):

We went to the West Edmonton Mall. When we got there we went to Galaxy Land and bought tickets. Sharon, Jenny and I went on the rollercoaster, Drop of Doom, the Swing, bumper cars and other rides -- it was really fun... At about 7 p.m., we went to the Grant McEwan Community College to register. We stayed at the college for about three hours watching the entertainment. Teenagers were rap singing, dancing and a lot of other things...The next morning (Saturday) we went to the conference at 10 a.m. and went to the workshops.

I was in with the Metis Cultural Dancers...The next day (Sunday) we went to the college at 9:30 a.m. We went to the workshops till 1 p.m. At 1 p.m. they held a closing ceremony. It was very good. We did a round dance and a long handshake. I met William and Mike from "North of 60."