My name is Ashley Wynne I am an Anishinaabekwe currently living in Nogojiwanong (now known as Peterborough). I am Turtle Clan, with roots in Brunswick House First Nation. I am raising money for low-income Indigenous families to help students gain access to culture-based education at Sage and Sunshine Culture-Based Private School.
The education industry has been mass-producing children’s education for a long time. There is little to no room for Indigenous Knowledge, language, and culture. They continue to assimilate Indigenous children by educating based solely on western worldviews and teaching in colonial languages (English and French) only. Indigenous knowledge is critically undervalued and contributes to systemic racism and the loss of Indigenous culture and identity. Many Indigenous children struggle to learn in a formal way and fall behind. Traditionally Indigenous children thrived by observing and exploring the world together with their families and community providing a sense of security resulting in a better learning environment.
Sage and Sunshine Culture-Based School is the only school in Peterborough that highly values traditional Indigenous knowledge and incorporates it into everything we learn. We provide children with access to basic Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe, the original language of this land), traditional teachings and other cultural experiences daily. Students attend full-time, Monday to Friday and learn the Ontario curriculum at their own pace using a more traditional hands-on learning model which focuses on each child’s unique strengths and interests. Sage and Sunshine empower children by using a variety of learning styles that work together to solidify concepts, so they thoroughly understand what is being taught. Bringing language, culture, and traditional teachings into all areas of learning further enhances and engages children in meaningful lessons that build a strong foundation for academic success.
I grew up off-reserve in Sault Ste Marie ON, where the only connection I had to my Indigenous culture and community was through my Ojibwe language class at school, where I got to be with other Indigenous children for 1 hour/day. This was the only place I felt a sense of belonging and pride. When I was 11 my family moved to Peterborough ON, and I lost that connection. Now I am a mother of 4 and I have had to fight hard to connect my own children to their culture. My story is just one of many displaced Indigenous families, there are so many other families looking for a connection to their roots and an education that values our traditional knowledge.
Having been an Indigenous student myself and now a parent it is very important to me that Indigenous children feel seen in their daily education. Sage and Sunshine is dedicated to delivering a program that supports students' cultural identity allowing them to feel like valued members of their community. Indigenous children should not still be forced to assimilate. They should not still be separated from their culture and families every day. They should not still be falling behind and feeling unworthy of help because resources are limited. They should not feel out of place, different, or less than. Sage and Sunshine is breaking the belief that others know what is best for our children.
Our goal this year is to raise enough money to fully subsidize 4 Indigenous children for the 2022-2023 school year. 100% of donations will go directly to Indigenous children's tuition. Please consider making a difference in the lives and future of Indigenous children, their families, their communities and their future generations by helping them gain access to their language, culture, and community every day. Your contribution is more appreciated than you will ever know and we are truly touched to receive your support and generosity.