UCDSB students celebrate Inuit culture at year-end iLead Gathering

Above, 2018-19 iLead representative Allison MacIntyre (left) welcoming the new 2019-20 iLead representative Tanice Jock (right) at the final iLead gathering of the school year. Courtesy photo

CORNWALL — Approximately 200 iLead members from across the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) gathered in Kemptville on Thursday, April 25 for their fifth and final Indigenous Leadership (iLead) Gathering of the 2018-19 school year.

Students welcomed 22-year-old Inuit Hip Hop Artist, William Komaksiutiksak, also known as Northern Knowledge to this event. Komaksiutiksak shared stories about Inuit culture, lead an Inukshuk-building activity and performed singles from his album Strong Minded Inuk.

“Our students really connected to William, his story and music,” explained Gail Brant- Terry, UCDSB Principal of Indigenous Education. “We will be adding Will to our board list of available knowledge keepers and cultural presenters to support Indigenous Education programming.”

iLead members also elected their 2019-20 representative, Tanice Jock from Cornwall Collegiate & Vocational School (CCVS). Jock will represent iLead members at UCDSB Student Senate meetings, which are held four times over the school year.

Over the course of the 2018-19 school year, iLead Day attendees, which include both self-identified students and their allies, have learned about Cree art, Wampum, Indigenous medicine and land teachings. The purpose of these events is to increase student awareness and understanding of Indigenous culture and history.

“As we end a great year of Indigenous teachings, we celebrate the accomplishments of our iLead program,” says Brant-Terry. “We are looking forward to what next year will bring.”

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