Indigenous storyteller shares teaching with students
October 18, 2018

John Rice visited professor Lynn MacKinlay’s Cabinetmaking Techniques class over the summer.

John is a drum maker and storyteller from Wasauksing First Nation (near Parry Sound) and currently works in mental health outreach with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Enaatig Healing Lodge and Learning Centre.

John delivered a teaching that focused on respecting the craft of woodworking and appreciating that the trees, used by the students, each have their own spirit.

He emphasized the importance of acknowledging the spirit in each tree and giving thanks to the trees for their sacrifice to humankind. He also outlined traditional uses of different trees ranging from birch to cherry.

Did you know the inside of a cherry tree can be used to cure headaches?

John’s teaching was both informative and humorous and he made clear links between Indigenous knowledge and cabinetmaking.

Lynn recognizes the value of adding Indigenous content to the classroom and embraces Georgian’s Indigenization process.

John Rice, Indigenous drum maker and storyteller