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Teepee storytelling tradition at St. Augustine School promotes Indigenous education, Reconciliation

Storytelling is traditionally a winter activity for Indigenous communities
Christie Wilson’s Grade 3 class enjoys story time in the teepee at St. Augustine School. (Facebook photo/St. Augustine Ponoka)

A longtime tradition at St. Augustine School continued this month with teepee storytelling time.

The teepee, set up in the foyer of the secondary building in January and February, is a space where students can learn more about Indigenous culture in an interactive, immersive way.

“Storytelling in our teepee is completely awesome and heartwarming. It’s a tradition and part of our Indigenous learning framework and Truth and Reconciliation Call to action number 63,” said principal Kari Davidson.

Many of the teachers take their classes into the teepee in the weeks it’s set up.

“(The students) enjoy it. It’s always neat to move to a different environment outside the classroom,” said Grade 3 teacher Christie Wilson who’s class recently held story time in the teepee.

“I think it makes it more memorable to them. It’s something they look forward to and it’s a neat learning experience to be in there,” said Wilson.

The class read On The Trapline by David A. Robertson, and The Origin of Day and Night by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt together.

Traditionally, storytelling was a winter activity for Indigenous Peoples, when the elders would share knowledge and life lessons, Wilson explained.

Learning about Indigenous culture is part of the social studies curriculum.

“Our school does a monthly Orange Shirt Day celebration and accompanying lessons in the classroom to promote Indigenous education and Reconciliation on an ongoing basis,” said Wilson.

Emily Jaycox

About the Author: Emily Jaycox

I’m Emily Jaycox, the editor of Ponoka News and the Bashaw Star. I’ve lived in Ponoka since 2015 and have over seven years of experience working as a journalist in central Alberta communities.
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