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Laureate College students showcase Indigenous cultures in Canada

Organizers hope to expand the program to include more students, more activities next year
Laureate College students share information on Canada's history with visitors from Timothy Christian School during a special event on May 9.

Students at Laureate College took visitors from other schools on a journey around Canada in only about 90 minutes. 

Grade 10 and 11 students came together last week to showcase Indigenous cultures from across the country, highlighting the history, tradition and sports of various tribes. 

“Since the majority of our students are international, we wanted to give them a taste of Canadian culture and history,” Brendan Johansson, boarding and student activities coordinator at Laureate, said. “The 10 and 11 history classes in Ontario are focused on Indigenous Canada. So we decided we wanted to put on a little project and it snowballed from there.”

Groups of two or three students at the private school on Snake Road each focused their presentations on a specific region. 

Totem poles, Tla’amin art, lacrosse, Inuksuit, hoop and arrow games, and pow-wow dancing were showcased for the visiting Timothy Christian School students, who also took part in activities such as building Inuksuit, learning to shoot a lacrosse ball and watching videos on how to perform a pow-wow dance.

“Although this will probably be a one-and-done event, we’re going to run a program similar to it and build on it,” Johansson said. “This organically popped up, and we didn’t plan on doing this when we started the projects. Now, we have an idea of things that you’re not going to get from other high schools.”  

Next year, organizers are hoping to put together the presentations in time for winter and make better use of the school’s campus. 

“We would normally have snowshoeing and cross-country skiing set up, but this past winter kind of defeated the snow,” Johansson said. “Hopefully next year we’ll be able to do that, plus nature walks. We have tons of maple trees for syrup tapping that we’d like to do. So we’re definitely going to expand.”

Laureate College moved to its current campus only two years ago, from a location in Oakville that it owned since 2012. There are approximately 45 students at the school; some 80 per cent are international students. 

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