Hundreds of Indigenous students “Rise Up” at CMHR

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People in a Museum gallery explore tall wooden panels with wildlife and Métis beadwork. There are curved horizontal wooden slats to the right.

Photo: CMHR, Chronic Creative

News release details

Hundreds of Indigenous students from the Seven Oaks School Division will gather for two days at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) this week to connect, celebrate their culture and discover how they can take action for human rights.

The gathering – called “Rise Up” – is a highlight of the year for Grade 8 to 12 students in an innovative cultural education course designed to help Indigenous youth connect with the teachings of their families and communities.

“Throughout the school year, students join Elders and teachers outside the classroom to learn about ceremony, identity, belonging, responsibility and purpose,” said Sherri Denysuik, Indigenous Education Lead for the Seven Oaks School Division. “Students not only move closer to their goal of completing high school, but also have the opportunity to transform and heal their own lives.”

At the CMHR, students will be greeted by Elders, hear presentations from Kevin Chief (February 20) and MLA Bernadette Smith (February 21) and participate in demonstrations of Indigenous dancing, music, drumming and pow wow. In the afternoons, they will take part in workshops, including the CMHR’s “Be an Upstander” program.

WHAT: “Rise Up” gathering of Indigenous youth

WHEN: Thursday, February 20 and Friday, February 21, 2020

  • 10 a.m. – Greetings from Elders Mary Courchene and Dan Thomas
  • 10:30 a.m. – Keynote speaker: Kevin Chief (Feb. 20), Bernadette Smith (Feb. 21)
  • 11 a.m. –
    • Norman Chief Dancers and North End Band (Feb. 20)
    • Spirit Sands Drummers and pow wow demonstration (Feb. 21)
  • 11:30 a.m. – Interview op with students, Elders, speakers and organizers

WHERE: CMHR, 85 Israel Asper Way

Afternoon workshop topics will include language and anime with Westin Sutherland, art with Lita Fontaine, filmmaking and writing with Sonya Ballantyne, hip hop with Maribeth Tabanera, jigging with Michael Settee, spoken word with T’ai Pu, a mobile planetarium with Rockford McKay and the CMHR’s “Be an Upstander” program. 


Media contacts

Rorie McLeod