Sharlene Lambert is the new First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) coordinator for Ecole Providence.
When asked how she finds the first few weeks in her new position her answer is brief and succinct.
“Couldn’t be happier, I like what I’m doing,” she says and then adds. “I am here to help support families in the native community. If anything arises with some of our kids, I can go in and speak with the family, let them know the more important things. Some parents don’t feel comfortable coming into to the school so I can go to them.”
The FNMI program also involves cultural programming such as teaching traditional beading, a class that with the assistance of Howard Chalifoux is already in progress.
Howard Chalifoux taught Lambert how to bead and now both Lambert and Chalifoux are passing on the craft to all Providence students who are enthusiastic to learn.
“We teach beading every Wednesday and all the kids look forward to it and next month I am hoping to start reading stories to the kids in the Cree language,” says Lambert.
She is also planning numerous other activities following native history and traditions including making small teepees out of hide using realistic materials and process.
Another initiative that Lambert is working on is teaching the Grades 3 and 4’s about native culture and traditional ways of making things, such as clothing.
“The Grade 3 and 4 teacher, Judith Mawoko has me working with her in social, teaching the kids things like how native people made their clothes back then,” says Lambert. “I am going to see if I can get apparel so the kids can see how it was made.”
The FNMI program and Providence school also planned activities for Orange Shirt Day, to create awareness of the transgressions and gross injustices of the residential school system and to promote solidarity and foster reconciliation.
All Ecole Providence students both native and non-native participate in the FNMI program.