In this wonderful video, Wisconsin Media Lab and The Ways shows us how an Ojibwe immersion school integrates the tradition of sugaring into their curriculum. Keller Paap, a teacher, and Brooke Ammann, the school director, explain the importance of students learning Ojibwe language in this way.
The winter stories of the Ojibwe are vital narratives that offer a historical and moral guide for understanding the environment and our people’s place within it. One of these stories tells of the first maple sugar gathering. A tree offered its life-force (sap) for use by the people to help keep them alive through a difficult winter when many were starving to death. This tree asked to be cared for in return and to be thanked properly for this gift. Each spring the students at Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School open the school sugar bush with a retelling of this story and an opening feast of thanks.
For more information and stories, please visit theways.org/story/waadookodaading.