This is an annual event hosted by Seven Generations Education Institute. We are so fortunate and honoured to have Elders and knowledge keepers, from the surrounding First Nations, gather together to deliver a program that is representative
of the preparations taken for sustaining health and well-being for the winter months. Some stations are just for fun and information, but it is necessary to balance between work and play to maintain good health.
The signing of Treaty #3 is celebrated on October 3rd of each year, and was signed on this date in 1873. To commemorate the historical event by exercising the inherent rights of Indigenous People, of this area, that were acknowledged in the Treaty; Seven Generations Education Institute hosts an annual Dagwaaginimaawindoosijigewin (Fall Harvest) at the Nanicost grounds. The event hosts elementary and secondary students from throughout the district and stations are facilitated by elders and knowledge keepers from the surrounding First Nations as well as Métis Senators along with representatives from the local Métis office and volunteers from the Métis Nation in Fort Frances.
Over 500 students participate in, or observe activities that have long since sustained the Anishinaabeg, land and wildlife in this area for thousands of years. Manoomin (wild rice) is harvested and dried in preparation for Dagwaaginimaawindoosijigewin and students have the opportunity to participate in parching, dancing on (for the boys), winnowing and cleaning or finishing the manoomin. Participants can sample popped rice, locally harvested tea and fried bannock. Students observe fish, geese, deer, and beaver being cleaned and prepared for cooking or smoking. They learn about building a smokehouse and smoking meat that will last through the cold winter when game can be scarce. Students observe the process of rendering bear fat to make bear grease. Bear grease has many medicinal and healing purposes; it is also used for pain management. Participants can take a moment to relax in the teepee for storytelling and to hear valuable teachings promoting physical and mental health. Elders, who were in the Indian Residential School System, also have powerful stories and teachings to share on resiliency and getting an education. We are fortunate to have representatives from the Métis office in Fort Frances, facilitate Métis games and cooking bannock on a stick.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Elders, knowledge keepers, volunteers and members of the Métis community for their continued support to Dagwaaginimaawindoosijigewin. These people brave the weather and spend two days outdoors so that our children can learn local knowledge rich in culture, as well as the way that Anishinaabeg prepare for the long winter months.