SIX NATIONS – Chiefswood National Historic Site and Niagara Falls Museum was honoured by the Ontario Museums Association (OMA) as the 2016 recipient of the Award of Excellence in Programs for Discovering Kaná:ta: Exploring the Culture and History of the Haudenosaunee on November 22.
The half day program was designed by staff from the Niagara Falls Museum and Chiefswood National Historic Site and was delivered to Niagara schoolchildren both in February by Cultural Co-ordinator Heather George and last week by Cultural Co-ordinator Alysha Longboat.
“The Awards of Excellence is our opportunity to recognize those institutions and individuals who exemplify their roles in the museum sector, reminding us of the impact museums have on their communties, and on Ontario as a province,” said Marie G. Lalonde, executive director of the Ontario Museum Association.
The development of this program will have a lasting effect on both the Ontario museum community, and on the local Niagara community: the program is highly replicable, and can serve as a template for programming in which First Nations voices are heard, and the success of this partnership has led to a commitment by the Niagara Falls Museums to include First Nations content in their programming whenever possible.
The Discovering Kaná:ta program is characterized as a true partnership between Niagara Falls Museums and Chiefswood National Historic Site, the two organizations built on one another’s strengths to ensure that high-quality, engaging programming could be presented by First Nations educators. The week long program, featured half-day sessions about various elements of Haudenosaunee culture, which were facilitated by Niagara Falls Museums, but led entirely by First Nations Chiefswood staff.
Originally, Niagara Falls Museums had intended to be able to lead the program themselves, but quickly realized that the Chiefswood staff’s ability to use first-person language when talking about First Nations culture had a much greater impact on both their First Nations and non-First Nations students, and adjusted their plans for the program accordingly. The Discovering Kaná:ta program recommenced last week in the Niagara Falls area and was delivered to more than 120 youth.