Toronto District School Board
Art Projects Honour Canada’s Indigenous Roots

Art Projects Honour Canada’s Indigenous Roots

Thursday, June 01, 2017
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

June is National Aboriginal History Month across the country and at TDSB, a number of schools have unveiled murals that honour Canada’s indigenous roots.

At Humewood CS, artists Chief Lady Bird and Monique Aura worked with grade 6 and 7 students to create an 8’ x 12’ piece titled “Aankosjigen Enaadzing,” which means “bridging cultures” in Ojibwe.  The project allowed students the opportunity to explore the concept of shared and diverse identities.  Each student created an individual canvas that reflected their personal identities and, together with the artists, the students learned about a wide range of Indigenous world views. 

Perth Avenue JPS added new murals and trees to its halls and school yard.  Artist, Activist, Historian and Cultural Interpreter Philip Cote worked with Kindergarten and Junior students to create vivid images depicting Indigenous groups who once inhabited the lands of Perth Avenue JPS.  Cote helped the kindergarten children develop the images through storytelling, pictures and discussion of the Haudensaunee, Wendat, Anishinaabe and Cree nations.  Then Cote worked with the junior students to bring the mural to life.  At the same time, parents worked to plant three Birch trees at the front of the school. The trees are symbolic of the white birch canoes that were used by Indigenous nations on river arteries. 

The idea for a mural at Diefenbaker ES was inspired by a similar project at Cosburn MS, where students worked with an artist from Inner City Angels, Allycia Uccello. Elder Esther Oche visited Diefenbaker ES in April and met with each class to share her stories about The Seven Grandfather Sacred Teachings, which provides the theme of the mural, before students began working with Uccello. 

Earlier this school year, Withrow PS celebrated a mural by students and artist King. The grades 5 and 6 students who worked on the piece learned about self-identity and how symbols are used for expression in art

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