Thunder Bay, Ont. students learn to play traditional Indigenous games
Day-long event at 2 schools featured sports and games like lacrosse and double ball
Two primary school students use sticks to toss an arm's-length of leather with ball-like sacks on each end between them, trying to wrap the material around each other's piece of wood.
The game is called double ball and it's one of the traditional Indigenous games students at Kingsway Park Public School in Thunder Bay, Ont., were teaching younger kids who attend its sister school — Hyde Park — on Wednesday as part of Treaty Recognition Week.
"Our academy students from our [grade] 7 and 8 program have ... organized and are running a traditional games play day in celebration of their knowledge they've pick up as part of their academy program," said Darren Lentz, the principal of both Kingsway Park and Hyde Park Public Schools.
"[It's] also a celebration of Indigenous culture as part of Treaties Recognition Week."
The grade 7-8 class at Kingsway has been part of an experiential learning academy where they go on field trips and talk with organizations as part of the curriculum. Prior to Indigenous games day, the students went to Fort William Historical Park where they were taught history and how to play many of the games.
Representatives from the Thunder Bay's lacrosse community also taught the students how to play the sport.
"I'm pretty sure if I wasn't at Kingsway, I wouldn't have learned any of these," said Kendall Siver, a student running the Métis games station on Wednesday. "They like to teach us things instead of sitting in a classroom."
"It just builds the culture in the school that we are thinking about the history of Indigenous people and then bringing it out and sharing the knowledge we have in our academies with the younger students," said Ryan Roy, the grade 7-8 teacher at Kingsway.
Seth McLuckie, a grade 8 student running the hand games station explained to a group of kids the different activities at his station which largely were designed to help kids learn hand-eye coordination and reflexes that, traditionally, would have been beneficial for hunting.
"They are all really fun but the whirly game is definitely the funnest," he said.