SWEET THUNDER MEDICINE WHEEL SCHOOLS
Sandy and I have had the great experiences working with students from a number of Ontario schools (Grade 8-12). Part of the time was spent building an indoor Character & Environmental Education Medicine Wheel using the students as the 'stones'. Every group is different. All of them are good-natured and willing to try new things. Parents should be very proud of their kids, they are our future and very special, kind, thoughtful, fun, exuberant and really good drummers! I am confident that the world is in good hands.
SECONDARY SCHOOL, STRATFORD, ON
Sandy and I spent a great day with sixty terrific young people, who by the end of the day were singing and drumming like there was no one listening! The students offered lyrics for their original song entitled, Muskrat Clan Song. We determined through consensus that the honorary clan for this year's group would be the Muskrat. Good choice kids, because it is Muskrat who helped Turtle create North America by bringing up a little bit of earth from the bottom of the ocean to place on Turtle's back. Muskrat is small, but with a big, warm, helpful, goal-oriented heart. Just like you! Fabulous lyrics, it made writing the tune in thirty seconds easy! We built the medicine wheel (Photo, third from left). Each student read their teaching aloud and took their place on the wheel. Look at them, they are beautiful.
SONG LYRICS: MUSKRAT CLAN SONG
Courage to be who you really are
EAST LAMBTON, GRAND BEND, KINNWOOD, BOSANQUET, ABERARDER, HILLSIDE - GRADE 7 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, Forest, ON area
Wow! This was a very cool day. Sandy and I built the largest Medicine Wheel, so far with 140 Students and Teachers as the 'stones!' The students showed remarkable patience in waiting their turn to hold the microphone and read their teaching aloud. It also indicated great courage to stand in front of their peer group and read aloud. Sandy and I were very proud of them. They also drummed wonderfully. T'oyaks (thanks) to the Teachers who pitched right in with good humour and cheer. Thanks, "Anishinaabe Bob", for helping us create the circle of chairs.
Before After and After
DESERONTO PUBLIC SCHOOL
Sandy and I spent a great day with some students who were on a day-long retreat at Wesley Acres just south of Belleville. They were fun to be with and very thoughtful when it came to building their medicine wheel. William (Bill), their teacher was simply great and he had a lot of fun belting out the tunes.
CROSS SECONDARY SCHOOL, (Grades 9-12),
Sandy and I have acquired a second Big Drum. We didn't have time to wake it and so decided that we would conduct the ceremony at the first stop on our mini tour in December, 09. As Sandy told the students, this was a very rare situation to conduct such a ceremony, but if we didn't do it, the drum could not be played. The students were invited to join in the wakening ceremony which they did with great kindness, given that they had little exposure to anything First Nations. Sandy explained that the Drum had already been feasted for seven days.
Sandy and I will always remember where we woke 'K'ool'.
THE REST OF A MAGICAL DAY AT HOLY CROSS SCHOOL
Teachers played K'ool, Thunderbird told a Lakhota story "Buffalo Caller", (about Equality, Self-Esteem & Respect), students were chosen to represent the various characters; there was lots of drumming and the 'Kool Boys' as Sandy and I dubbed them did a great job. The Moonstone Girls were as steady as a rock as both drums, sang in unison. It was quite the sound and quite the experience to hear two big drums doing their thing. Nice going, kidlets!
In the afternoon we built the Medicine Wheel and the students read out their assigned teachings and we discussed them when the circle was completed.
Holy Cross: Original Song Lyrics from their Medicine Wheel Experience:
When I drum I
Another bunch of terrific students. This was particularly special because there were six Mohawk students present (5 @ 14 years of age, and their Mentor, Marni at seventeen years of age). The Lakhota Story "Buffalo Caller" was told, with students representing the characters; Moonstone was played enthusiastically, I talked about Medicine Wheel and Character Education using my trusty chart; Sandy did the drum teachings; and the students engaged and listened. Love them! In the afternoon after pizza lunch we built the medicine wheel.
We wrote and sang a special song for the Mohawk Students because of the serious troubles they are having on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve. I was very dismayed to learn that a group of people had burned down a Longhouse! It has caused much despair as factions divide against each other for reasons that the six students could not explain. We gathered them in a circle and sat them between the two big drums. I wrote a song from the words the students gave me in their support. As they held my Eagle Feathers, we then sang it to them.
Hope is to Dream
The anger of this small faction is not directed at whatever it is that is causing their individual despair. Instead, they have chosen to direct their rage inwards at their own people. I send my prayers to the good people living through this and hope that 2010 will see resolution and calmness return to the reserve. Remember, terror and terrorism can only thrive when good people stand back and do nothing.
MITCHELL, STRAFORD CENTRAL, STRATFORD NORTHWESTERN
(3 years running)
This is our third year working with Maureen Matchett and her students from Madill Secondary School. This year Madill was joined by students from Mitchell and Stratford. In past years Listowel and Goderich have been part of the day. Avon Maitland should be very proud of its young people. They are simply the best! Students shored up my spirits by singing an honour song to my brother, Lt Colonel Colin Marmo (Nisnawa). His spirit has been with me as I moved toward the end of my thirteen moon ceremony for him (January 23, 2010).
BEAUTIFUL YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR TEACHERS
Original Song Lyrics from their Medicine Wheel Experience:
came together, experienced each other
SOUTH HURON SECONDARY SCHOOL - GRADE 9 - Given that they didn't have a clue what a medicine wheel was, these young people engaged in the process in a really good way finding the courage to talk about individual teachings in front of their peers. Nice going!
STEPHEN CENTRAL - GRADE 8
- The Students were wonderful, full of good cheer and fun. They engaged in conversation with me in a thoughtful and kind way. Loved them!
WHAT IS A MEDICINE WHEEL? -
It is a different way of
developing strength of character for pro-active positive change,
It is the The original social media network of positive
Over time, tribal members learned the value of counteracting racism with teamwork, jealousy with self-respect, gender bias and gender choices with acceptance, fear with courage, hate with love. Everyone was valued for who they were and the talents they brought to the community. It just doesn't get any better than that
"Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us today. It was a fabulous day. Building a medicine using the kids as the stones, was inspiring." (Madill, Mitchell, Stratford Central and Stratford Northwestern Secondary Schools)
"Your presentation had a great impression on me, and I think you are an incredible and inspirational woman. I learned a lot about Native beliefs and customs, and felt you really taught what we lack in class....You brought a sense of humility and understanding...and I was deeply touched by the messages. You are an amazing woman, and I think you are doing a great thing to help non-aboriginals understand your people. I would love to meet you and see you perform again. I feel privileged to have met you even once. Thank you so much. You have had a lasting impression on me and my classmates." (CC, Madill High School, Wingham, ON)
"Shannon is passionate about bringing her peoples' story to the youth of Canada. I have observed her workshops many times here in our corner of rural Ontario and she continues to engage our young people in a very memorable interaction. Her message is one of understanding and respect and her new workshop on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel dovetail beautifully into the Character Traits teachings in our schools." (L. McGregor, Foundation for Enriching Education)