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Kids at Deninu school learn from an elder

Erika Sherk
Northern News Services

Fort Resolution (Nov 27/06) - At Fort Resolution's Deninu School, while the Grade 11 and 12 students were clomping around outside on snowshoes, the Grade 5 and 6 kids were inside on Nov. 21 learning about them.

Elder Alphonse King was at the school to teach them how snowshoes are made and how to use them.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Alphonse King, centre, shows Lloyd Lafferty, left, and Gerald Dumas, right, how to make snowshoes. - Erika Sherk/NNSL photo

The kids fired off questions to him: how long does it take to make snowshoes? What are they made of? How long has he been snowshoeing?

It's a familiar scene at the school.

Each Tuesday, cultural coordinator Angie Sabien arranges for an elder to come to the school and share traditional knowledge with the students.

Last week elder Mary Pierrot showed the students how to cook ptarmigan and rats, said Sabien. Afterwards the kids were invited to sample the dishes.

They were even enthusiastic about the rats, said Sabien. "They were saying 'can I have some more?'" she laughed.

It's the first year the school has offered weekly cultural activities, she said, adding that "cultural education has been brought back into the school system."

Sabien said it's been a hit with the students so far. "The kids just love it," she said, "they love interacting with the elders."

The students certainly seem to enjoy it.

"I liked how he explained how to make snowshoes," said Shania Miersch, 11. She said she likes the elders coming in. "It's fun. We learn things about the life they had before and how they survived."

During the class Sabien told the students that they would be going to a winter culture camp the beginning of December.

The enthusiastic response was almost deafening.

"They absolutely loved the fall camp," said Sabien, which was held at the Det'an Cho Tourist Camp at Little Buffalo River. "They didn't want to leave."

Miersch said she is very excited that they will go to a winter camp as well.

"It will be good to see how the elders survived in winter," she said.

Rodney Mircridi, 12, backed that up. "It's going to be fun," he said.