Cultural developments in Muskeg Lake and the implications for career education
Lafond, Harry James
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As a guidance counsellor, the author has found a lack of the resources necessary to help Cree students through self-concept development. The Cree are from an oral culture and have not documented the resources they use within their culture to help their children develop positive self-concepts. The Saskatchewan Department of Education has developed a Career Education curriculum to facilitate teaching of self-confidence, social awareness and work cluster explorations. The children from Muskeg Lake Reserve attend school in Marcelin, Saskatchewan, a non-Cree community. The people from Muskeg Lake must become involved in the implementation of career education for their children. They can best do this by becoming resource people to the teachers of the program. The findings of this study showed unique cultural traits exhibited by the Cree of Muskeg Lake. The people believe in and live a life centered on the extended family which is reflected in the settlement patterns, child-raising and social interaction. The grandparents spend much of their time interacting with grandchildren. Informants interviewed in this study identified the importance of sports to the pride and well-being of the community. Young boys begin early to strive for athletic excellence. They receive community and peer recognition to establish personal status and prestige. Religion permeates the total life of the individual and the community. This was true traditionally of the Plains Cree, and according to the informants in this study, is still true of the Cree of Muskeg Lake. The trend among some Band members to re-discover Cree spirituality shows a concern for the spiritual well-being of the individual and a re-affirmation of Cree cultural practices. The findings of this study indicate the possibility that the Career Education Curriculum statement of philosophy reflects the Muskeg Lake holistic perceptions of the world. The school and the Muskeg Lake Cree have the responsibility to ensure that Cree cultural traits in religious ceremonialism, in sport, in settlement patterns and in social interactions are reflected in the content and strategies of the program.