Four students who submitted poetry to Gimaa’s Allyship Poetry Competition have been recognized and recognized for their artistic achievements.
In March, Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of Credit First Nation (MCFN) partnered with the Oakville Community Foundation’s Community Classroom Program to launch Gimaa’s Allyship Poetry Contest. Gimaa Laforme shared her poem titled “Nii jii” which means “friend” in Anishinaabemowin. The poem can be viewed and read online.
He then invited students from all Halton Public Schools and MCFN K-12 students to share their poetry about what friendship or alliance looks like or means to them.
Jasmine, Nimkii, Mabel and Nat were recognized on stage during the Debwewin: Truth of the Land performance on May 24, as they read and presented their poetry live and on screen in front of the crowd in person and live. . They have also been recognized on the Debwewin: The Oakville Truth Project website, the Community Classroom website, and in the printed Debwewin: Truth of the Land curriculum.
“I would like to sincerely thank all the young people who participated and who courageously shared their talents with us through their works of art,” said Gimaa Laforme. “I encourage each of them to continue to make their voices heard; art can and must change the world! I look forward to many more of these contests.
Students could present their poems in any way that suited them best, including through oral and written expression, in the form of poetry, rap, spoken word, and other creative means. There were nearly two dozen entries and the four students were chosen by a jury for their work.
Gimaa Laforme is the elected leader of MCFN, where he was born and raised and has served his community for over 20 years, first being elected to council in 1999. He is very active on MCFN treaty lands, which encompass 3.9 million acres of land across southern Ontario, including Oakville, which sits on Treaties 14 and 22.
Community Classroom is a free program, currently online, that offers all Oakville Public Schools and MCFN students the opportunity to participate in an arts, culture, heritage or environmental experience. Currently, these experiences include interactive videos and special live-streamed events.
“We were so impressed with the creativity shown by all of the young people in our community who entered the competition,” said Frances Pace, Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement at Oakville Community Foundation. “Congratulations to our four students who were recognized for their artistic achievements and thank you to all the students who shared their artistic talent.
All student creations can be viewed on the Debwewin: The Oakville Truth Project website.