Cultural activities at home
Homemade beading, baskets, and medicine pouches. Now, you can learn to make your own from the safety of your home. Photo by Athena Bonneau.
Okanagan

Get cultured this summer with these virtual classes

Check out these online seminars for Indigenous Peoples to learn traditional practices from the safety of their home.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, and after a recent spike in cases in the Okanagan, Indigenous communities have been working together to find ways to flatten the curve. That’s included everything from physical distancing measures to utilizing online seminars as a way of teaching traditional cultural practices while community members are able to stay home and stay safe. 

If you’re looking for ways to keep busy while learning something new throughout the rest of the summer, check out some of the online opportunities below.

Get artistic

The Penticton Indian Band Natural Resources Department is getting creative, delivering online seminars for youth and adults interested in learning a new set of skills or honing their existing ones.

This August, they will be offering online workshops on canning, medicine pouch making, garden box building, beginner stick games, beading and other activities.

Dates are still to be determined and will be posted on the PIB page in the next week. All workshops are free to join and any materials needed can be provided and dropped off at your home. 

The Natural Resources Department supports Indigenous communities in the Okanagan by protecting and preserving their cultural heritage, and working to conserve the Syilx/Okanagan Nations land and water.

Virtual harvesting 

The Ministry of Youth at Métis Nation BC is hosting tons of virtual events this summer for anybody who is Indigenous  and interested in joining and connecting with others.

One of the featured events includes a harvesting protocol shared by Elders, and the Natural Resources of Métis Nations BC. Together, they will discuss harvesting processes, hunting rights and medicines. Trivia and cultural prizes will be awarded throughout the night.

This free event takes place Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can register here

Hand drum teachings

On The Land Virtual Anishinaabe Teaching is hosting an online seminar on hand drums. 

Elder H. Neil Monague will talk about how to use music for healing, while sharing some new songs. He will also explore the uses and purpose of the hand drum, our sacred item. 

These sessions are open to all non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples of any community. 

Simply fill out a participation form to get registered and receive the Zoom link. All sessions will be recorded and shared on the organization’s Facebook page if you’re unable to make the date but are hoping to learn more. 

The session date will be held on Friday, Aug 21, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Beading basics

The Archaeological Society of Alberta’s Edmonton Centre is hosting a Métis beading workshop.

You will learn how to design your own pattern and how to make complicated shapes from there. You do not need to take the beginner workshop to enroll, but it is best if you already have sewing skills. 

The workshop will be facilitated by Krista Leddy, a Métis woman whose beadwork is influenced by the teachings of her Métis ancestors. 

It will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Click here to register.

Understanding Indigenous cultural appropriation

Luhui Whitebear will be discussing Indigenous cultural appropriation at this event, hosted by the online series Beginning Conversations About Anti-Indigeneity.

It will detail how to recognize and deal with cultural appropriation and find support. The goal is to encourage students to understand how “borrowing” a culture can be harmful.

It will be held on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Questions can be sent to Luhui Whitebear directly prior to the event or during. 

An ongoing conversation series dedicated to helping everyone learn how anti-Indigeneity works and its dangers, you can follow Beginning Conversations About Anti-Indigeneity here to keep track of their events throughout the summer. All events are free, though donations are accepted.

Reconciliation training

A virtual reconciliation training workshop will be hosted by the Women’s Centre of Calgary later this month.

It will present details of Indigenous history to provide context for some of the issues impacting Indigenous populations, and the barriers faced by Indigenous women in particular. The workshop will also explore Indigenous social issues and decolonization, while offering tools for allyship.

It is open to women-identifying individuals only and is free to join. It will be held Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. You can register here. Events are ongoing.

Indigenous solidarity for feminists

The Feminist Summer School, which helps young Canadian women and gender-diverse youth practice intersectional, anti-oppressive leadership, is hosting an Indigenous solidarity workshop this summer.

This workshop is to help Indigenous women – including trans women, non-binary women and gender-queer people – who face the challenges of colonialism understand what that means and how to cope. It will also provide tools for allies. Designed to offer a safe space, Feminist Summer School focuses on knowledge-sharing and community-building. 

You can register here. The event will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Classes are ongoing, and all proceeds from ticket sales will go toward free, accessible programming for Black, Indigenous and racialized women and gender-diverse youth.