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Stepping into history at heritage fair
Many students compete

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, April 26, 2012

Aspects of history and culture came alive in Bompas Elementary School's gym for one day last week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Kyla Norwegian, 15, stands beside her heritage fair project on trapping marten. Norwegian was one of 21 students who participated in the Regional Heritage Fair in Fort Simpson on Friday. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

The Fort Simpson school hosted the Regional Heritage Fair on Friday. The event brought together 21 students from three Deh Cho schools who shared their projects on historical and cultural topics.

Katrina Emmons, 11, of Fort Liard chose to do her project on beading.

"I thought it was interesting learning about beading," she said. "It was a topic I didn't know much about."

Emmons said she learned that moose and caribou hide, stroud and velvet can all be used as a backdrop for beading. There's a long history of embellishing clothes. Even before the time of European contact women were using embroidery to add beauty to their clothing, she said.

To illustrate her project, Emmons gathered a wide variety of beadwork examples, mostly from family members, including slippers, a watchband, a choke necklace, cardholders, a rosary and a jacket. Emmons also played a video of herself beading with her Aunt, Joyce Hardisty, as part of her display.

When asked what she liked about the Heritage Fair, Emmons replied, "If I win I get to travel."

Emmons got her wish. Judges chose her as one of five students who will represent the Deh Cho at the Territorial Heritage Fair in Yellowknife from May 10 to 13. The other top students include Alisha Grossetete from Jean Marie River as well as Teagan Zoe-Hardisty, Lia Fabre-Dimsdale and Sage Fabre-Dimsdale from Fort Simpson.

Multiple judges interviewed all 21 participants, looking at factors including the project's appearance, quality and depth of research, oral presentation and unique approach to the topic, said Brian Jaffray, the NWT Heritage Fairs Society's co-ordinator for the Deh Cho.

Primary research along with a personal connection and involvement to the project is key, Jaffray said. If students are able to link their topic to themselves, it gives them a stronger connection to history, he said.

One challenging part of the fair for many students is interacting with the general public and the judges. Students who have participated in the fair for multiple years show improvement in that area, he said.

To help build their experience, all seven students from Louie Norwegian School in Jean Marie River participated in the regional fair. Kyla Norwegian, 15, did her project on trapping marten.

"I was really interested in trapping and I wanted to find out more about it," she said.

Norwegian's display included examples of three different types of traps as well as a slideshow of her school's recent culture camp where two marten were trapped.

When she wasn't being interviewed by the judges Norwegian took the opportunity to look at the projects done by other students.

"I like all the projects, they are all interesting to me," she said.

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