"Binoojiinyag Aankesjigewag" (The Children Make Patterns)

Art Opening

"Binoojiinyag Aankesjigewag" an exhibit of the work of Lakeview School and MMAK Students 
by the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation 
May 8, 2018 - May 24, 2018.
The exhibit Binoojiinyag Aankesjigewag​ ​(The Children Make Patterns) is the result of over a year’s work at Lakeview School and Mnidoo Mnising Anishinaabek Kinoomauge Gamig (MMAK). This work was inspired and informed by the work begun by the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan in classrooms over five years ago.

This exhibit is part of a larger project, The Mnidoo Mnising Beading Project, which is an ongoing collaboration between the communities of M’Chigeeng, Birch Island, Sagamok and Sheshegwaning. Working together, each community is creating a learning experience with students that starts from the local history and stories around beading and goes on to explore the traditional mathematics that have always existed in beadwork. A major focus in the M’Chigeeng project has been on language revitalization, made possible by the knowledge and passion of the teachers, artists and Elders from the Anishinaawbemowin Revival Program (ARP), Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF), MMAK, Kenjgewin Teg, and Lakeview School.

In the fall, students in Grades 3 and 5 learned about the pattern core, or the part that repeats in a pattern. Students explored the design and mathematics of a number of patterns, including the Waasgonenhs Aankesjigan (Flower Pattern), Beshaabigan Aankesjigan (Striped/Candy Cane Pattern) and the Biiwaanak Aankesjigan (Arrow/Chevron Pattern).

Staff and students benefited from the expertise of Danielle Blair, from the Ontario Ministry of Education, and Ruth Beatty, from Lakehead University. These women guided everyone with the mathematical insights that came from their learning on the Pikwakanagan project. Over two weeks, students designed and loomed a shinkebzowin (bracelet) with an ankesjigan (repeating pattern core). 

This spring, students began working with the pattern core in new ways. In Grade 3 and Grade 5, we explored aanjnaagwak (reflection) and began investigating what would happen when we took our pattern core and reflected it in our template. We took this a step further in Grade 5 by rotating the pattern core on the template. Students, staff and family members loved using the space at the OCF to complete their creations with the help of our lead beading artist, Darlene Bebonang. Each student went home with mnidoomnensag (beads) and a naabdooge'ganaatig (loom) so they could continue designing and looming new creations. This is only the beginning of seeing the beadwork of these talented young people in the OCF.

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