K to A: Sewing Circle Program
The Sewing Circle Program was developed in Saskatoon by the community coordinator, parent council, two Elder parents, community members, teachers, nurses, and students at Princess Alexandra Community School. The program creators explained that students and families in their core neighborhoods were showing “signs of depression and emotional struggles while living through poverty as well as food insecurities.” Additionally, “families were not engaged with students or the school and the students were not confident and proud of the people they were.”
The Sewing Circle Program was created to connect students and parents with Indigenous knowledge to positively impact their self-esteem, skills and engagement with the school.
Through the program, Elders met with youth and parents to describe regalia and the meaning of colors. After students selected their colors, they explored different designs, shapes and animals and created their own designs. Students then transformed their designs into their own regalia with the help of parents and volunteers.
The program organizers reported the success they had in giving students the opportunity to create and perform in their traditional regalia “and be proud of their accomplishment and heritage.” Students, as well as two parents, danced for the first time when the program organizers and participants celebrated by attending powwows within the community. They also reported improvements in students’ school attendance and parents’ engagement with the school.
Image courtesy of Canadian Encyclopedia. Images from the Sewing Circle Program received by SAYCW, however, parents and guardians selected not to have them reproduced for public distribution.