Called The Seven Teachings, the half-hour video was produced by 10 students and resource teacher Allan Pfeil. It was done in collaboration with Lisa Meeches, host of CKY's The Sharing Circle television program.
"The kids loved working with Lisa Meeches," says Pfeil. "She was so great to work with and they discovered how difficult filmmaking really is in that you sometimes have to shoot a scene over and over until you get it right."
Pfeil says the students gained a new appreciation for how much hard work goes into making a documentary.
"But they also learned how much fun it can be, too. And we learned that we have some budding television stars," says Pfeill.
"The video celebrates the diversity of Canadian society by exploring some of the beliefs and practices of Canada's original peoples, in particular the Ojibway."
Ojibway adults and elders instill moral values in the young through a series of teachings, explains Pfeil. Each of these teachings are associated with a different animal, which helps to flesh out the meaning of a particular teaching. They are as follows: Eagle represents love; buffalo represents respect; bear epresents courage; Bigfoot represents honesty; beaver represents wisdom; wolf represents humility; and turtle represents truth.
Students from the Grade 5 classes auditioned for an opportunity to be a part of the video. The 10 students who were chosen were taken to Dave Courchene's Turtle Lodge at Sagkeeng First Nation. It was there that the students received a 'spirit name' and were bestowed the honour of being a 'keeper' for one of the seven teachings, says Pfeil.
The proceedings were documented by crew members of The Sharing Circle.
What does it mean to be a keeper?
"As keeper of the teachings, the students took on the responsibility for portraying the spirit of that teaching in a series of vignettes or scenes," explains Pfeil. "Each keeper had a chance to introduce each vignette and narrate the action, and the other students acted as crew persons and actors."
Appreciate aboriginal culture
The overall ojective of the video was to encourage non-aboriginal children to come away with a positive appreciation for the aboriginal culture.
"The area that we live in does not have a high percentage of aboriginal students, so we wanted to promote acceptance and tolerance. I think the video has gone a long way to succeeding in that goal," says Pfeil.
The following students were involved in the making of the video: Roger Beals, Isaiah Smith, Alex Clearwater, Samantha Christie, Chantal Gerardy, Matthew Enns, Rene Luangrath, Jennifer Winkler, Marissa Dornian and Bonnie Moose.
As well, there were guest appearances by Kindergarten student Bailey MacDonald and Brittany Enns from Grade 1.
PHOTO MIKE DEAL/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS