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Sign o' the Times

July 9, 2019

You aren't alone if you've noticed that something is different across the Louis Riel School Division.

From front entrances to playgrounds, 32 freshly painted Indigenous Circle of Courage adorn these areas at 28 schools as part of the "Grounds Pride" Team and the Medicine Wheel-Circle of Courage Project.

"Along with my colleagues in LRSD, I recognized my responsibility to contribute to integrating Indigenous perspectives in schools," said Chris Marinelli, Student Support Services, Co-op Ed Itinerant. "I support learners in educational work experiences throughout the division and am working with others to develop more opportunities continually. This project allows our learners to contribute to schools all around LRSD in a positive and meaningful way." 

The "Grounds Pride" team is comprised of work experience learners from across LRSD who painted the playground game lines for all the elementary/middle years schools in 2018. This spring, they launched this initiative that encompasses work experience, inclusion, Indigenous perspectives, and service learning. The Medicine Wheel-Circle of Courage Project includes Indigenous and non-Indigenous high school learners from across LRSD who have diverse and unique abilities. 

For a donation of $250, schools can have an eight to 20-foot diameter Medicine Wheel painted on their outdoor hardtop or cement that can be used for outdoor teachings, physical education or recess games. While these beautiful Circle of Courage paintings are a welcome addition for local learners, this initiative also helps other people in the province, too.

"All money raised will go towards supporting northern Indigenous communities with essential items such as clothing and literacy and numeracy supplies," said Marinelli. "I'm excited to say that so far, this project has raised $10,000. Now, our learners on our team will manage the budget, gather the essential items needed, and send them to Indigenous families in Northern Manitoba. This project brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to foster Reconciliation." 

While the project was a great way for learners in the team to learn a new skill, it also provided an opportunity for personal growth as well. 

"I enjoyed talking to people while I was painting about the meanings of the Medicine Wheel. This experience was very valuable as I learned how to paint and be patient," said Jayden Guilbault, a 19-year-old learner from Dakota Collegiate. "As an Indigenous student, it's important to learn how to forgive the past and move on to the future, and this experience helps do that."  

The Circle of Courage is an Indigenous inspired whole-learner approach for a holistic learning journey that incorporates four distinct quadrants: Mastery, Belonging, Generosity and Independence.  

"The Medicine Wheel and Circle of Courage are embraced within our division and schools' culture. The Circle of Courage is a tool that helps promotes well-being, resiliency, and a holistic approach to promoting student success," said Corey Kapilik Indigenous Education Coordinator. "The paintings in schools are a visual representation of what we value in the division and our schools, and a tool that can also be used to help in our understanding."
 
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