The welcome mat will be rolled once again as award-winning Canadian author David Bouchard returns to the district, this time to celebrate the official launch of his newest book—“The Seven Sacred Teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman.”
“It’s a real significant book I think,” said the Rainy River District School Board’s Aboriginal Education Leader Brent Tookenay, who originally helped to organize Bouchard’s visit to the district a couple years ago.
At that time, Bouchard was brought in to speak with educators on a Professional Development day, Tookenay explained, and “it kind of snowballed from there,” due to the enthusiasm of teachers, students and community members.
Bouchard—who is based out of British Columbia—ended up returning for a second and even third visit to travel around the district visiting schools and the First Nation communities.
And it was from these visits that the idea of writing a book on the Seven Sacred Teachings—an important part of local Ojibwe culture—was born.
Writing the book alongside Dr. Joseph Martin, Bouchard has enlisted local residents with the book such as Atikokan resident, Kristy Cameron, has illustrated the book, and Jason and Nancy Jones of Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation helped with the book’s translation to Ojibwe.
“The book is beautiful, it’s awesome,” Tookenay added, noting that he hopes to arrange it so that every single student in the RRDSB gets a copy.
Meanwhile, plans are underway for the official book launch celebrations, set to take place on mid-morning on Monday, Sept. 21 at the newly built pow-wow grounds at Rainy River First Nations.
“It’s really an awesome facility, so it just made sense to have it there,” said Tookenay, pointing to how the grounds are designed to represent the seven communities that make up Rainy River First Nation—with seven sides to the big grandstands, a number that also coincides with the seven sacred teachings.
Planning for the event, including an exact schedule, is still underway, Tookenay explained, but so far attendees being welcomed by Director of Education, Jack McMaster, as well as Delbert Horton and Jim Leonard of Rainy River First Nations, and the Board’s First Nation’s trustee, Gary Allen speaking.
Alongside a drum, he’s hoping there will be elders and education councillors from the area’s First Nation communities, alongside mainly Grade 6 students from across the district—although members of the public are also welcome to come out.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed, but I believe Paul Martin may be coming, and possibly the national chief as well,” said Tookenay. “We haven’t heard from Dianne Kelly, the Ogichidaakwe for Treaty #3, yet, so hopefully all of those folks can make it, and also Gary Lipinski, the Metis leader.”