Representing and Honouring Culture
On Friday, October 28th, Maclean’s 2011 Universtiy Rankings hit newstands. On that same day, Kelly Nootchtai, St Benedict’s Class of 2009, visited a Native Studies class at St. Charles College to talk about the importance of making good choices and Aboriginal Education. This is significant because Kelly is on the cover of this issue. She is a third year Native Studies and Philosophy student at Laurentian University and understands the value of a good education. She talks fondly of her years in elementary school taking Ojibwe classes at St James. Kelly looked forward to continuing the language program at the secondary level but, it wasn’t until her graduating year that St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School was able to offer any Native Studies programming. Kelly talked about how lucky the students are to have Native Studies as an option and having great teachers like St. Charles College teacher Jennifer Petahtegoose. Both Kelly and Ms. Petahtegoose are members of Atikameksheng Anishinawbek (formerly Whitefish Lake First Nation near Naughton). Students listening to Kelly’s message were inspired and felt a sense of cultural pride. Ms. Petahtegoose stated “As a community member we are very proud of Kelly’s accomplishments and as an Anishinaabe educator I am always looking for positive First Nation, Metis and Inuit role models. Kelly has overcome obstacles to get where she is today and we are proud that she is one of our graduates and can share her story to inspire those coming up behind her.” After the talk, Kelly signed covers of the magazine and Ms Petahtegoose served homemade cookies and cedar tea.