A group of young artists from Six Nations of the Grand River released a coloring and activity book inspired by the cultural and linguistic elements of their community.
The artists, who call themselves the Group of Six, sketched out images and digitized them into a 68-page book.
Artist Mya Warner said the group came up with the idea during the pandemic, when many children were stuck at home.
“Around here the Wi-Fi isn’t really good so a lot of the kids were having a hard time in school so it gave us an idea to give them something to work on,” said Warner, 16. years old, who is one of the band members. members.
The book features images of traditional clothing, unique animals and plants found in the community, and objects and instruments used in ceremonies.
“We wanted to pick out things that could really show who we are. We really just tried to keep things here,” Warner said.
There is also a poem, crossword, and cutout craft basket, all representative of the Haudenosaunee people.
There are word matches in Cayuga and Mohawk, two of the many languages featured in the book and spoken in the community.
The book, which launched earlier this month, was made possible through a grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
More resources needed
The group said the book will also fill a need for educational materials that represent them and their community.
“A lot of the resources that we have now are not specific to our community and our ways. These kids can use those resources to really get in there and learn who we are,” Warner said.
The book could be used in schools, and even by people outside the community, said Group of Six member Daelynn Doxtater.
“A lot of indigenous kids going to school in the cities, they don’t feel represented,” said Doxtater, 16.
“I’ve been to school a lot in the cities in my life, and there’s not much about our people. So it’s boring. It’s like, ‘Come on, we were here. Where am I?'”
Doxtater hopes that by releasing the book this fall, teachers will use it in their classrooms on Canada’s first National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Thursday.
“I hope they think about the pages and enjoy them,” added Sydnie Thomas, 16, a member of the group.
“[The book] is for everyone … It can be for our young children. It can be for non-native youth, anyone, even older people, ”she said.
Elizabeth Doxtater, coordinator of the Group of Six, is proud of the group’s work.
“It really sends an empowering message to everyone, not just our own people, but everyone can see that our young people have some of the brightest creative minds,” said Doxtater, who founded the group there. about six years ago.
“What’s hurtful is that a lot of times the stories in our communities are picked up and repeated, and they’re often very negative and very hurtful, and they can really perpetuate stereotypes. And so be able to show how amazing our young people are. creative people give… to our own community members and everyone else to see that there is so much value in what they know and how they express it, ”she added.
The coloring and activity book can be downloaded for free here or on the group’s Facebook page.