BLACKFOOT LANGUAGE CLASSES
Weekly (Tuesdays) 2.5 hour Blackfoot conversational and writing classes for a group of adults, on reserve, 25-30 participants started in the fall, but by October, were moved to Lastar Radio 89.9 FM, a radio station on the Blood Reserve.
Because of COVID restrictions, Ninastako worked with a language instructor, an elder and drummer/singer to create prerecorded sessions, which could be aired on the radio station. Because of its location at a high elevation, LASTAR has the ability to broadcast to the Blood and Piikani Reserves and also to reach other surrounding communities: Cardston, Fort Macleod, Hill Spring, Glenwood and Magrath. The station has a loyal listening audience estimated at approximately 20,000.
Ninastako offers 3 different 1-hour cultural/language sessions twice each week: Conversational Blackfoot, (conversational and common phrases, i.e., numbers, names of animals, days of week, months, and so on), Singing/Drumming, and Blackfoot storytelling. It is anticipated that the 8,900 registered listeners participated in a number of these sessions. Response from the community was very positive.
SINGING, DaNCING & DRUMMING CLASSES
Weekly 1-hour Blackfoot drumming/singing classes for groups of students in grades 5-8, 20-25/group, were held in six different locations: three Lethbridge schools, two on-Reserve schools, and one rural school. An Elder/ and Drum making Instructor were involved.
However, the sessions were changed over to Zoom sessions when
COVID required the schools to close. 95 participants
Weekly 1-hour dancing group classes for grades 5-8, 10-15/group were held in one Lethbridge school in September, but by October, they moved to Zoom sessions. However, 40 participants at the Summer Cultural Language Camp also received an hour/day dancing instruction.
Weekly 1-hour sewing group classes (for grades 5-8, 10-15/group) were held in one Lethbridge school, which has sewing machines. Parents were encouraged to attend. Again, these sessions were moved to Zoom sessions in October. A Dancing Instructor and a Sewing Instructor were involved. 15 participants
Our Cultural Camps are for ages 12-16, in groups of 15, was hosted in August, 2020, in conjunction with Sweetgrass Youth Alliance. Many of the participants were from foster homes, so this was a great language/cultural experience for them.
Participants learned about traditional plants for health, raising a tipi, significance of designs on tipis, pitching tents, making drums, hunting practices for moose, elk and deer. They will be participating in a traditional sweat, playing traditional Blackfoot games, translating their Blackfoot names, and a mini pow on the final day. They also received instruction in Blackfoot Language, singing/drumming, and dancing.
Participants were dropped off at Pavan Park at 9:00 a.m., and picked up by 5:00 for the first four days and at noon on the final half-day. An elder and 3 supervisors will be involved throughout the week.