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Our Lady of Fatima adds tipis to Indigenous education programming (4 photos)

Sumac Creek Tipi Company built the structures for the school

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is very proud to announce the addition of two new structures to our Fatima landscape. Our Native Second Language (NSL) program continues to grow and develop with the support of the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB). This year, through the hard work and support of Mona Jones ‚Äčour Indigenous Education Coordinator for HSCDSB, and Chylene Day our NSL teacher we have been able to add two 16-foot tipis to our educational programming. Mona and Chylene continue to expand the opportunities for our students at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School with these projects and investing in our NSL programming. 

We were able to work with Jeff Jacobs and the Sumac Creek Tipi Company which is based in Serpent River which made these original tipis specifically for Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. Jeff and his team came and gave a full tutorial on how to set up the tipi, the history of the tipi, and the teachings behind the tipi to our students. Jeff and his company are very proud to support the school in this venture and promote our NSL program. 

One tipi is planned to be utilized by the Junior and Intermediate Grades who will learn how to take down and set up the tipi on their own.  We plan to keep the other tipi standing year around as it comes with the curtains, doors, and accessories to withstand our Elliot Lake winters. 

"There is a lot of excitement throughout the school.  During these times of crisis, we have added two new safe spaces to our NSL program where all students can do some outdoor learning in an Ojibway style Tipi.  Reigniting the Anishinaabe teachings, language, and cultural history through storytelling and hands on activities brings a sense of pride and acknowledgment that we are all Treaty People," said Chylene Day, NSL teacher at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. 

Our school plans to use these structures for some of their class lessons and discussions while adhering to Algoma Public Health Guidelines. We look forward to having traditional celebrations with smudging, drumming, hand drumming, and authentic lessons in these sacred spaces.