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Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12

8th graders compete in Ojibwe Winter Games


Story By Meghan Mamlock
Local News Published 02/22/2021 6:25PM
Lac du Flambeau - The 8th graders at the Lac Du Flambeau Public School learned the importance of their Native American culture and traditions through their Ojibwe Winter Games.

Wayne Valliere, the Language Culture Instructor at Lac Du Flambeau Public School didn't want the history and traditions to be forgotten so he began the Ojibwe Winter Games as a fun way to educate the students. 


"Snow snake hasn't been played in 175 years here in Lac du Flambeau until we brought it back so its now becoming common knowledge with our young people once again in our community," said Valliere.

The Ojibwe Winter Games have been taking place for the past 10 years after Wayne had a vision of children playing these games on the ice. 

"February is a very cold  still month in Northern Wisconsin and I wanted to get the kids outside doing healthy activities and also bringing some of our old games back that we haven't played in a long long time," said Valliere.

The events the students competed in was the snow snake, hoop and spear, spear throwing game and the snowshoe race.

Wayne incorporates the student's culture and heritage into the activities, making sure they keep connected to a tradition historically not taught.

"Today our students will not only tell you what a snow snake is but its Ojibwe word also which is called a Gooniikaa-Ginebig Ataadiiwin. So our kids know about its history  and they know how to play it," said Valliere.

Wayne hopes building a strong sense of identity early on will give students a necessary foundation.

Lawrence Mann, the Culture Connections Teacher at Lac Du Flambeau Public School enjoys seeing the students enthusiasm when competing at the events. 


"The experience of the Winter Games it starts in the classroom, this right here is what we call a snow snake Gooniikaa-Ginebig Ataadiiwin our students from kindergarten all the way up to eighth grade make these," said Mann.

Mann hopes to build the future of their community with a respect for their past.

"With the winter games it really helps our kids to live culturally. Kids when they come out here they're experiencing what our ancestors experienced," said Mann.
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