Subject: Indigenous Family Literacy Circle December 2020 Newsletter

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Come Walk in My Moccasins Newsletter
December 2020

In this issue:
Books: Animals, Immi's Gift, Neekah's Knitting Needles, 100 Days of Cree
Our Words: Mohawk Language with Jennie & Ryan
Our Music: Cedar Song
Our Arts: Featured Artist: Leo Yerxa
Our Stories: Last Leaf to Fall & The Night Before Solstice
Our Traditions: Story Telling with Thomas King
Recipe: Cedar Tea
Did you know?
Story telling is a very important tradition to Indigenous Cultures. It is not only a story, it is also how teachings are gifted to children. It is especially important during the winter months when activities like planting and harvesting can not be done. It is a time for rest and reflection. 

Reflection question:

What kinds of stories can you share with your children or what stories would you like to share with your children at this time?
Featured Books
Animals (English/Inuktitut)

Infant and Toddler

Let’s sing about Arctic animals!
Based on a children’s song by popular Nunavut band The Jerry Cans, this song book teaches the names of different Arctic animals and the country food made from them. 

This is an Arvaaq Book. Books in this series are intended for infants and very young children and are designed to help children develop physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language skills. (excerpt from
Immi's Gift

Preschool and Kindergarten

Two children half a world away from each other are connected in an unexpected way in this timeless, fanciful story.

Way, way up north in a snow-covered frozen world, a young girl breaks a hole in the ice and fishes for her supper. But instead of a fish, at the end of the line is a small, brightly painted wooden bird. She ties it onto her necklace, next to a small wooden bear.

Day after day her fishing pole brings up more colorful surprises from the swirling sea under the frozen ice. She decorates her igloo with the beautiful treasures, and animals come from far and wide to visit with her and share stories of faraway lands. When it is time to move on, she visits the fishing hole one more time and drops the little bear from her necklace into the water.

Faraway, a young boy walks along a beach in the hot, hot sun. He throws a colorful object into the water. Then something catches his eye. There washed up on the beach is a small wooden bear...

Karin Littlewood has crafted a simple, affecting story of how individuals around the world connect and even enrich each other's lives. Her beautiful full-spread watercolor illustrations vibrantly depict the story's shifting locations-from the frozen Arctic to the tropical shoreline, linked together by the vast and diverse world that exists below the sea.

Neekah's Knitting Needles


Neekah’s great-grandma, Mumma, knit all her life. Her Grandma Dorothy knits, her mom knits, and all her aunties knit. Even some of Neekah’s uncles knit. And Neekah wants to knit too. Every year she asks her mom if she can learn, and every year she hears, “Be patient. Your hands aren’t quite big enough yet.”

At last Neekah is ready to learn, her head and heart bursting with the colourful patterns and designs she will create with the wool. She sits down with her mom, holding the wooden needles Grandpa Carl has made for her and the wool from Auntie Joni’s wool shop. But knitting a toque for Grandma Dorothy is not as easy as she had imagined.

From award-winning author Sylvia Olsen comes a lyrical celebration of the tradition of Cowichan knitting among the Coast Salish peoples and the joy of creating something with your hands. Combined with Sheena Lott’s exquisite watercolours, families will love to share this cozy, loving story that carries the clicking of knitting needles down through the generations to a young girl holding her first set of needles. (excerpt from

100 Days of Cree


As an Elder once said, "Learn one Cree word a day for 100 days, and emerge a different person."

In 100 Days of Cree, Neal McLeod offers us a portal into another way of understanding the universe--and our place within it--while demonstrating why this funny, vibrant, and sometimes salacious language is "the sexiest of them all" (according to Tomson Highway).

Based on a series of Facebook posts, the 100 short chapters or "days" in the book present a chain of related words, some dealing with the traditional--the buffalo hunt, the seasons--and others cheekily capturing the detritus of modern life--from Internet slang to Johnny Cash songs to Viagra.

The result is both an introduction to the most widely spoken Indigenous language in Canada and the opportunity to see the world, and ourselves, in another way. 
(excerpt from
Our Words
Mohawk Language Learning

Learn to say "peace" in Mohawk with Jennie and Ryan. 
(.41 second video)
Our Music 
Cedar Song

Cedar is one of our four sacred medicines. Algonquin Elder, Judi Montgomery shares a song to honour the cedar tree. 
(1:45 minute video)
Our Arts
This month we're featuring Ojibway artist and author, Leo Yerxa.
Click the link to read this touching story about Leo's life journey that led to his artistic achievements. This tribute is from an art exhibit held in Thunder Bay from September - December 2019. Many thanks (chi miigwech) to Maxine, Leo's partner, for sharing this with us for the newsletter.
Portrait of Leo Yerxa

Discover art through the eyes of Ojibway artist and author, Leo Yerxa. (8:29 minute video)

Our Stories
Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall

This animated short film is subtitled and read in Anishinaabemowin and features art by Leo Yerxa.
(5:45 minute video)

'Twas the Night Before Solstice

Grandmother Judi shares an Indigenous spin on this classic Christmas poem. (3:44 minute video)
Our Traditions
Thomas King - The Truth About Stories

Listen to this five part series on traditional story telling with Thomas King.

"In his 2003 Massey lecture, award-winning author and scholar Thomas King looks at the breadth and depth of Native experience and imagination. Beginning with Native oral stories, King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, in an effort to make sense of North America's relationship with its Aboriginal peoples."

Indigenous Fusion Recipe
Indigenous Language Resources
Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest
With the help of fluent speakers we are reclaiming our Indigenous languages & cultures. We sing, play games and do special projects. All are welcome!
Online Mohawk Dictionary
Anishinaabemodaa - Waking Up Ojibwe
Through a series of programs and partnerships the Anishinaabemodaa initiative is focused on providing Anishinaabemowin instruction from preschool through to post-secondary.
This site represents many things, most of all, it is evidence that Anishinaabemowin is alive and well. A living language must be spoken fluently and used creatively. We have created this cyber space so that the ancient sounds are not lost and can be connected to anyone willing to listen, learn, and labor with us in the effort to maintain Anishinaabemowin. 
First Voices Kids
Interactive online resource for helping children learn words and phrases in 50 different Indigenous languages on Turtle Island!

Mohawk Words and Phrases
Translations in print and audio formats

Michif Language Resource
Translations in audio, video and print formats

Anishnaabemowin - Our Language Our Culture
Ojibwa language booklet

Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na provides Mohawk language and culture programming at the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory (the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte). They run several programs, including Totáhne (At Grandma's House) for preschool children, Kawenna'ón:we Primary Immersion (K-4) and Shatiwennakará:tats, a year long program for Adults.
Courses and Resources
Online Anishinaabemowin
Free Ojibwe classes Monday - Friday 11 am

Turtle Island Conservation Curriculum- Based Activities Guide

The Toronto Zoo’s Ways of Knowing Partnership Turtle Island Conservation programme shares the hopes and goals of our First Nation partners in the commitment to preserve wild life and wild places for those yet to come.
The TIC programme partners with Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee First Nation communities in Ontario, to incorporate Traditional Knowledge into turtle and wetland conservation programming.
The intention of this partnership is to bring together Traditional Knowledge Keepers, Elders, First Nation community members, and TIC programme team members to support cultural and natural history priorities of the individual community, while building awareness with non-Aboriginals.
The programme employs First Nations youth and is guided by a First Nation Advisory group.
All knowledge and teachings remain with the partner community, while awaiting their decisions on how the information is to be used.

Indigenous Ally Kit
Resource for Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Practitioners
Guide for Evaluating Indigenous Children's Books
Beauty in Movement: An Indigenous Guide to Physical Activity 
Pamphlet about the importance of physical activity and ideas to get children moving
Gathering Communities Making Connections
A list of resources and services for people of Indigenous Ancestry, and for those who work with them
Canoe Kids
A family book for readers of all ages that explores Indigenous cultures through authentic Indigenous voices

Sources for Indigenous books:
Indigenous Book Lending:
Magnetic North: voices from the Indigenous Arctic, ONLINE
Thursday, December 3
Water Teaching with Elder Shirley Williams, ONLINE
Tuesday, December 8
Healthy Indigenous Families/Healthy Indigenous Communities, ONLINE
Wednesday, December 9
Protecting Our Water: Water Based Learning and Indigenous Perspectives, ONLINE
Wednesday, December 9
Indigenous Art Adventures with Lance Cardinal, ONLINE
Saturday, December 12
Indigenous Knowledge 101: Where is it and Who has it - A Teaching, ONLINE
Thursday, December 17
Land as a Teacher: Water Walk with Grandmother Vivian Recollet, ONLINE
Saturday, December 19
Online Art and Storytelling Workshops
January 2021 - May 2021
Previous Issues of Come Walk in My Moccasins
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Indigenous Family Literacy Circle Partners:
Come Walk in My Moccasins is created by the Indigenous Family Literacy Circle and sponsored by Journey Together through Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. 
Click here to download or print the Come Walk in My Moccasins pamphlet.
  Copyright 2016 Indigenous Family Literacy Circle 
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8064 Old Hwy #2, K0K 1X0, Deseronto, Canada
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