The Stoney people lived in the foothills region where our school is presently located, long before any explorers or traders had discovered this incredibly beautiful area. They are often referred to as the Mountain Stonies or Nakoda. Early stories of life in Millarville often depict the interaction, teamwork, and friendship between the Stonies and the homesteading families. Our community developed alongside the traditional migration route from their winter camp in the mountains to the summer camp in the foothills. Currently the Stonies live both to the west and to the south of Millarville.
The Grade 3 students at Millarville Community School have been learning about our neighbors, the Stonies. We have spent time out on the land trying to internalize what land and territory mean. Students have heard and read authentic stories and legends, specific to the Stoney people. These stories came from a special publication wherein the authors tried to set down the truth about the old Stoney culture before the contact with the first traders. Their approach was to allow the elders to speak. We have had visitors come into our classroom to share their knowledge of the Stonies and we have traveled to museums searching for answers to our questions. Lastly, we examined traditional Stoney artistry found on clothing, dwellings and artifacts.
As the study progressed students had an opportunity to share their understanding
of Stoney culture with students in two other schools. In return, they
saw and heard about the people native to other communities. In this manner,
they met the Blackfoot (Siksika) and the T'Suu Tina Tina (Sarcee). Throughout
this project, our hope was that students could develop a respectful awareness
of Stoney culture specifically, and a broader understanding of native
people in general. Our big question, as teachers, was "Can we design
this project in such a way that students might develop a level of empathy
that would allow them to see that culture from within?" We hope that
the discoveries, as seen through the eyes of the Grade 3 students at Millarville
Community School, reflect an accurate picture of traditional Stoney culture.
Copyright for student work remains with the authors.
All else copyright © 2002 Pam Irving, Lorraine Flavelle and Galileo Educational Network Association