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‘Indigenous Ingenuity, Timeless Inventions’ exhibition travels through Northern Ontario

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Scientific Communicators Kennedy Sikora and Kiara Dokis at SRFN for the ‘Indigenous Ingenuity, Timeless Inventions’ exhibition.

By Leslie Knibbs

SERPENT RIVER FIRST NATION – Science North in partnership with Indigenous Tourism is taking the exhibition “Indigenous Ingenuity, Timeless Inventions” to 20 communities in Northern Ontario over the next two years. The travelling exhibition received support from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, and the Canadian Government.

Since September 2022, Kiara Dokis from Dokis First Nation and her colleague Kennedy Sikora from Sudbury have been on the road with the exhibition travelling throughout Ontario. Recently, these two ‘road warriors’ were welcomed to Serpent River First Nation (SRFN). The two “Scientific Communicators” from Science North are excited to be able to share their knowledge of the innovations and scientific knowledge from Indigenous people passed down over generations. Dokis is a graduate in Medical Biology while Sikora is a Zoology graduate. The team travels to each location in a large cargo, setting up the display a day or two before the exhibition starts in the communities. They live in each community they are visiting while on the road.

Science North describes this travelling exhibition as “a clever and novel mix of science and culture intended to stir a sense of pride among First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities, and celebrate the diversity, interconnectedness, and resourceful ways of knowing and being, that Indigenous knowledge and innovations provide in the global community.”

“Indigenous peoples from North America have long demonstrated a great sense of ingenuity, using nature as inspiration. The world we know today is influenced by their innovations and scientific knowledge. The exhibition invites visitors to experience the innovative processes that give rise to Indigenous knowledge by: OBSERVING nature as a source of inspiration, LISTENING to bearers of knowledge, EXPERIMENTING with scientific principles, and SHARING acquired knowledge by passing it on to others.”

Science North’s partner is Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO). It is the first and only dedicated Indigenous tourism organization in Ontario. According to its website, “ITO is a membership-based non-profit with a mission to improve the economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples through the provision of meaningful financial, marketing, industry guidance and support, resources, and advocacy work to Indigenous tourism owners and operators across the province. ITO is recognized by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) and Government of Ontario organizations and ministries for their work therein. For more information about ITO and their initiatives, please visit indigenoustourismontario.ca.”

Visitors to the SRFN exhibition experienced an interactive, insightful educational kind of exhibition from March 29 till April 15. According to a Science North press release, “Over the next two years, the exhibition will be travelling across the north, presenting a clever and novel mix of science and culture intended to stir a sense of pride among First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities. The Northern tour of this exhibition will create a significant economic impact in the North through growth and diversification of the tourism sector, as well as job creation at Indigenous Tourism Ontario, Science North, and partner attractions.”

Following the visit to SRFN, the exhibition will travel to M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island until mid-May, then onto the North Bay area until July. Parry Sound area, Temiskaming Shores area, and Muskoka area on the tour’s itinerary.  Other stops have yet to be arranged. The exhibition runs daily from 11 am to 6 pm. The Lifestyles Center is located on the south side of Highway 17 in SRFN.  All are welcome to attend this free event.

For more information about the Indigenous Ingenuity tour and upcoming stops on its tour, visit Science North website.

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Lead Facilitator – Circle Process

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Rice will serve as a mentor for program featuring budding Indigenous writers

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