Cultural awareness in Whyte Ridge


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/04/2021 (776 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I was contacted recently by Shirley Delorme Russell, asking if I could give her a tour of the Whyte Ridge Interpretive Trail, and in particular, the provincial plaque describing the Stopping of the Survey historic event. It was a cold, windy morning when we visited the site, but educational for both of us.

Shirley is an instructor of Métis culture and history with the Louis Riel Institute. The Stopping of the Survey was an important event in Manitoba; in 1869, Louis Riel stopped federal surveyors from identifying lands to be annexed by the Dominion of Canada, one of the first actions leading to Manitoba joining Confederation.

The event happened fairly close to the plaque location, and Shirley was anxious to see it in preparation for sessions she will be leading for Whyte Ridge Elementary School Grade 4 classes.

Supplied photo Shirley Delorme Russell, an instructor of Metis culture and history with the Louis Riel Institute, pictured at the Stopping the Survey plaque on the Whyte Ridge Interpretive Trail.

Shirley explained that the Louis Riel Institute is regularly invited to schools, universities and various organizations to present on Métis culture and history in Manitoba.

She said that in previous years the Institute has provided sessions for each Grade 4 class at the school, but this year, because of COVID-19, it is providing virtual sessions, but these do include one day walking the interpretive trail and visiting the plaque at WRCC.

I was so pleased to hear that, as one of the goals of the trail is to provide local students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience with Winnipeg’s natural history. As we walked the trail, I pointed out the tall grass prairie and other native plant species present that could be included in the session.

Shirley said that the sessions are organized to include learning about historic connections to physical places in the world, and visiting the site is a great opportunity to be very close to the parcel of land with a story about the creation and naming of the Province of Manitoba.

As we looked at another plaque on the Battle of Fort Whyte, she added that the sessions will include learning about William Whyte, and sharing information with William Whyte School in Winnipeg School Division.

The need to include developing an awareness of Indigenous culture has been recognized in Winnipeg schools. The Pembina Trails School Division has been supporting traditional Indigenous cultural programming opportunities in schools for more than three years, through the Indigenous Student Success teachers’ program.

I think recognizing and celebrating cultural diversity in our community is a fantastic idea. In addition to the sessions at the school, the Whyte Ridge Community Centre established the position of cultural diversity director in 2018 and has hosted events celebrating cultural diversity. I’m hoping we can learn and celebrate cultural diversity with more sessions and events later this year.

Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.


Nick Barnes

Nick Barnes
Whyte Ridge community correspondent

Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.

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