Two Ermineskin High School students show a chicken dance to the visiting Japanese 10th graders at their gym on Friday

Two Ermineskin High School students show a chicken dance to the visiting Japanese 10th graders at their gym on Friday

Ermineskin Cree celebrate Treaty 6 anniversary, with Japanese guests

Ermineskin Cree Nation marked the Treaty Week between September 20 and 25 with several activities.

Ermineskin Cree Nation marked the Treaty Week between September 20 and 25 with several activities with a view to explaining to the younger generations the importance of the signing of Treaty 6, which covers the rights of the First Nations in Maskwacis.

As part of the events marking the signing of the Treaty 6 138 years ago, children from Ermineskin Elementary School and Junior High School took part in a “racial awareness walk” on Friday, Sept. 25 from their school to the Bear Park, where elders of the First Nation gave speeches to the youth explaining how the treaty helped the Cree protect and preserve their cultural identity.

At the Ermineskin High School, there was a demonstration of First Nations’ dances with description of their styles and meanings aimed at visiting Japanese Grade 10 students from a Japanese town called Ashoro, a sister town with Wetaskiwin.

Steve Woods, teacher of Cree language and culture at the Ermineskin High School said it was natural that Japanese students would find the First Nations’ drum and dances interesting. “Drum signifies the heartbeat of the Earth,” he said. “It is the first rhythm every individual hears in their mother’s womb.”

After the demonstration of fancy, grass and chicken dances by Ermineskin High School students, visiting Japanese students also performed a more modern dance for the host school.