Learning Story – Guessing Game and Bear Hide

What Happened? 

We played a guessing game where the Bushkids had to tell one of the educators something they thought no one knew about them (an interest, a skill, a place they have been, something about their family). The educator shared them one at a time with the group and the Bushkids had to guess who it was. This went on throughout the day. 

We also got to watch Donovan scrape a bear hide almost all day (still not finished!). We talked about the significance of bears, their strong spirit and the teachings about them.

Why is all of this meaningful? 

We are trying to provide opportunities for the Bushkids to share more about themselves with each other. We discussed that our identity is very rich and that we need to make an effort to learn more about each other’s identity, beyond what we look like or how we might express ourselves through our clothes or how we wear our hair. We read a story written by a transgender youth that explains why this is so important for her. The Bushkids just loved the guessing game. They would approach the educator to add to their list of characteristics. The Bushkids were proud to share new things about themselves and their families. We also took Polaroid pictures of all of the Bushkids to hang up in the walltent. 

Demonstrating how to flesh the bear hide was an open invitation all day. Some of the Bushkids found the smell really strong and learned that it’s disrespectful to the animal to say “ewww” or “gross”. Other Bushkids got used to the smell and noticed that it didn’t bother them very much

by the end of the day. The Bushkids asked questions and wondered what Donovan would do with the flesh he scraped off. “Use it for bait in my traps because it has such a strong smell and the fat won’t freeze” he explained.

What does this mean for next time?

We will continue to play the guessing game next session and encourage the Bushkids to consider all of the things that contribute to their identity to help them think of something (Land, people, language, knowledge, experiences, our spirituality, our family). We will also continue working on fleshing the bear and then we will stretch it. We hope to spend more time sharing knowledge about sah (bear) from different cultural perspectives at Bushkids.