Monday, 9 February 2015

"Hanging Out" with Mark Rutledge

In Social Studies, the students in Mrs. Miller’s class are learning about First Nations and their contributions to Canadian history.  In order to gain a better understanding of the First Nations culture, students conducted a virtual interview on Google Hangout with Mark Rutledge, a member of the Ojibway community.  Mark showed the students pieces of his ceremonial dress and explained the significance of each piece.  Students enjoyed learning some fascinating historical and current facts about the various First Nations communities here in Canada.  Thank you Mark for an informative and engaging session!

Read about some of the interesting things we learned from Mark below:

Mark Rutledge was born in Red Lake, Ontario. He has a twin brother and a younger sister. The three of them were adopted.  When Mark was younger he didn’t know about his background or where he came from. He said that it was hard living that way, not really knowing who you were & where you came from. Four years ago Mark moved to Whitehorse, Yukon. Mark is married, and has three children- two boys and one girl. Over the years Mark has learnt more about his background and found out that his ancestors were First Nations. He explained to us some important facts about the first nations including where they live, what they wear, and what their way of living is. Mark is an Anishinaabe. The people of Anishinaabe (the good people) take care of the environment and make sure that nothing gets wasted. Mark speaks Ojibway, which is the language of Anishinaabe. Mark is part of the wolf clan. A clan is like a symbol, which represents the culture. There are over six hundred first nations communities in Canada, as Mark explains. The first nations could eat only food that they were able to hunt, such as deer, moose, and bear. The first nations wear special costumes/clothes called Regalia. They beautifully beaded bands that wrap around your hand. One band Mark showed us, had a carefully beaded wolf on it, and it was very colourful. There’s also another thing that wraps around your hand, also very beautiful.  It has a blue star right in the middle. Mark said that this represents the males. On either sides of the blue star, there are two red things, which look sort of like bows. These represent the females. In other parts of their costumes there are wolf skins, and eagle feathers. The eagle feathers are there because the anishinaabe people  believe that the eagle can get closest to the lord, which they believe in.  Mark Rutledge was a very interesting person to learn about, and I am very grateful to Mrs. Miller and Mrs.Rachamim, who took the time to help us Skype Mark, and arranged it for us, and most of all, I am grateful to Mark Rutledge who woke up early to take the time to Skype us and tell us a lot about himself, his past, and the first nations.


Our class recently interviewed a member of the First Nation community named Mark Rutledge. We found out some very interesting information about the First Nation culture and heritage. We first asked Mark to tell us a little bit about himself and his background. Mark Rutledge currently lives in Whitehorse,Yukon with his wife and three children.  Mark and his siblings were born in Red Lake, Ontario and were adopted by a family from Toronto. Mark did not know much about his heritage when he was growing up but later he discovered he was part of a tribe called Anishinaabe which means the good people. Long ago, the First Nation peoples did not have access to grocery markets and pick up ready meat for food so they had to make their own food by hunting. Some common  foods were deer,moose, and bears. They used every part of the animal for food and then for clothing and weapons. Mark told us that there are schools in Toronto that teach young children about First nations culture and languages. The best part of the interview was when Mark showed us pieces of the Regalia (clothing) and it was awesome. Every part tells a story about the person wearing it. Mark wear the regalia during pow-wows (special ceremonies) where First Nations communities get together to sing and dance. I really enjoyed interviewing him. It was awesome and fun - I wish we had more time to ask him other questions.

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