Fostering future storytellers

By Jessica Dempsey

February 19, 2017 1:19 PM

Soar mentors visited Queen Elizabeth School on Friday as part of Aboriginal Storytelling Month. Multiple students from the Lloydminster Comprehensive High School read to youth at the school to help foster future storytellers.

Friday, Lloydminster Comprehensive High School (LCHS) Soar mentors joined Queen Elizabeth School to read to students.
This is just one of many activities to have been put on for Aboriginal Storytelling Month.

“Because it’s Aboriginal Storytelling Month, we are taking some of our students out to younger schools to read with the students. (Reading) Aboriginal titles, stories, indigenous books or just general reading,” explained Denae Bruce, Indigenous coordinator and student success teacher at LCHS.

Being part of Aboriginal Storytelling Month, Bruce said was significant to the Soar mentors and to the youth they were reading to.

“We think it’s super important, first for the students to have role models, (for) indigenous role models to come out and read to them. Plus, having them read stories that represent our culture,” she said.

One of the Soar mentors, Tyler Black, was in attendance on Friday at Queen Elizabeth School and he said it was essential to him to be able to come read to the younger children for Aboriginal Storytelling Month.

“It’s actually really important to me because I feel that not a lot of kids learn about what’s going on, or what happened back then, and it’s really important for them to learn about it,” Black said.

Fayla Lins, another Soar mentor, said it was also important to her to be able to teach these younger students on things they might not know about.
“It means a lot to me because it means I’m going to be part of giving them insights on the indigenous culture, because they might not already know so much about it,” said Lins.

Also, adding how Aboriginal Storytelling Month is a way to showcase how people learned and told stories before.

“Back in the day Aboriginal people used storytelling as a way for educational purposes instead of writing … just hearing the stories is also an easier way to paint a picture in your mind, because if you’re sitting there reading and writing, it kind of gets blurry on what you’re actually learning. So, being able to tell stories to teach children about the culture is awesome,” said Lins.

The Soar program at LCHS was given a Cree name “Mikisiw achak” by an elder, which means eagle spirit. They use the Soar name because it means to take flight and fly, which is the ultimate goal for their students.

“It’s a mentoring program for older students that work with younger students, but right now, what we are doing is only working in our high school to get our students strong and successful. Then we are going to be working down in the younger schools,” said Bruce.

While it is the 14th time Aboriginal Storytelling Month has been proclaimed in Saskatchewan, it was the first time it had come in Lloydminster.

“It’s very important for us, we are in the process of a lot of reconciliation, and we are working together with the community to move that forward,” said Bruce. “So, it’s really important to have our students be leaders.”

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