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Students at George Gordon First Nation use theatre to revisit their roots
Kathryn Fraser , CTV Regina
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:17PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:25PM CST
Students at George Gordon Education Centre took a trip back in time to re-enact their Indigenous history.
The original play called "Treaty 4 All" took place Tuesday on the George Gordon First Nation.
Amanda Moosemay, a teacher at the school, wrote the script and directed the show. She wanted to teach her Grade four students about their Indigenous culture in an interactive and artistic way.
"I wrote it for my social studies unit," she said. "I wanted to teach them something that was visual for them and it worked out fantastic. They did their unit very well."
The play focuses on the singing of Treaty 4, also known as the Qu'Appelle Treaty, in 1874. The treaty covers most of southeastern Saskatchewan and solidified a deal between the Crown and First Nation people.
The agreement allowed the federal government to use Indigenous land in exchange for payments, education, agriculture and reserves.
In the play, students are immersed in all aspects of Indigenous history. Bryan McNabb, principal of George Gordon, said the students portray historical figures.
"They're having a ceremony and they're signing the actual treaty," he said. " It's really significant and really symbolic."
McNabb also said it's the first time the school has held a dinner theatre.
"Our kids are naturally gifted," he said. "Our teachers are finding out what gifts they have and utilizing them. And one is using the arts."
Around 20 students took part in the historical show. They wore costumes and used sets designed by staff.
The play was a fundraiser for students and helped raise money in support of their year-end trip to Drumheller, Alta.
Kane McNabb, a Grade 4 student, enjoyed his experience on stage and in rehearsal. He played the narrator in the play and said he is looking forward to acting again.
"I'm learning a lot about treaties and how they're made," he said. "Everything is really fun and we're a team."
McNabb said he memorized eleven pages and worked hard at learning his lines.
"Practice makes perfect, that's what they say," McNabb said
McNabb said the provincially run school is exploring future dance classes and performances in both traditional and contemporary styles. He said additional arts programs will help teach students more about their heritage.
"I feel very proud," he said. "When I see our students not only learning about their identity and their history [but also] acting it out and portraying it before our community members, I'm very proud to be the principal of our school."
George Gordon First Nation wants to hold more events to keep Indigenous culture and the history of Treaty 4 alive.