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St.Amant acknowledges that we are on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. Read More

Black History Month at St.Amant: Opportunities for Teaching

Black History Month at St.Amant: Opportunities for Teaching

Dorcas Mariita loves teaching at St.Amant and has been with the organization for 15 years. She wakes up every day, happy to come to work. She worked in public education before, but when she came to St.Amant, it felt like where she belonged. She enjoys the culture at St.Amant, how everyone is working for the good of other people, and she feels comfortable expressing her views. Everyone comes together to help others.

“One thing about my culture, we always come together. We have extended families, and we believe in eating together. Grandparents, cousins, one family will have ten kids. Personally, I have so many cousins I can’t keep up with them!”

Dorcas was born in Kenya and moved to Canada in 2005. She has had to adapt to many things, but one that stuck out for her was Christmas.

“Christmas time is huge! People come together, and we don’t do presents, we do food. We usually slaughter a couple of goats, we play music and dance. Even the people you haven’t seen all year, people who live in the city will go to the village.”

The meal of goat meat has a mixture of cornmeal, with boiled water, and is stirred until solid. There’s steamed kale too, and of course sweet potatoes, not yams! Then there are African donuts, called Mandazi served at breakfast with tea. The tea steams, the water boiled with loose tea, then they mixed with milk.

“Lots of beer,” Dorcas said, laughing. “You know people are celebrating because you hear the music from every house in the village. The whole village, people from all different families.”

She felt that time of year was kind of boring her first few years in Canada.

“I just feel like I wanted to travel every Christmas.”

When asked about Black History month, she mentioned she was planning an activity for her class. Her first idea was to explore all the different kinds of animals found in Kenya and Canada, something to share where she’s from with the kids. She sees it as a great opportunity for her students to ask questions without shame or judgment.

“One student was so curious, she asked why I was sunburned. They were wondering why my skin was so dark. They had never seen someone so dark, but I had an opportunity to explain to them. With teaching sometimes, the opportunities just come out. She went home knowing something new.”

That is why she feels that Black History month is important, so everyone can feel included. Everyone can recognize and respect each other’s diversity, and history. Dorcas was thankful that St.Amant is a place that supports those values.

As part of Black History Month, we are featuring St.Amant staff of African Heritage. If you would like to participate and share your story please email drobidoux@stamant.ca.

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