Secondary & Post Secondary Tour Programs

Visits to the Woodland Cultural Centre by secondary and post secondary school students are by necessity much more involved events than any other type of tour. Older students have the interest and capability to comprehend and study more detailed accounts of Woodland peoples and their cultures. As well, older students have entire courses dedicated to the specific study of Native peoples and their cultures; thus, visits to the Woodland Cultural Centre compliment and enhance secondary school curriculums and post secondary school objectives.

“By its very nature, Native studies is integrative.” By showcasing the details of a geographic area and its cultures throughout time, the Cultural Centre finds it possible to cover a broad spectrum of subject areas. Thus a visit to the Woodland Cultural Centre fulfills many of the specific expectations from a variety of secondary and post-secondary school subjects: beyond Native studies, the Woodland Cultural Centre offers insight in the subjects of history, arts, geography, environmental studies, language arts/English, religious studies, sociology, humanities, anthropology, archaeology, political science, and agricultural science (to name just a few).

A visit to the Woodland Cultural Centre by a secondary or post secondary school group usually entails 2 to 3 activities and lasts from 2 to 3 hours. The Museum Education program also welcomes full day tours if instructors can negotiate that amount of time with the students and other instructors.

Museum Tours: 1 - 1½ hour

The museum collection is the basis of all tours scheduled at the Woodland Cultural Centre. Within the parameters of the museum, a visiting class can expect lessons to include or emphasize First Nations technology, ecology, cultural arts, familial roles, political evolution, traditional teachings, environmental dependency, sociological relationships, exploration, and many other topics. The Woodland Cultural Centre has the advantage of being an institution devoted to the study of specific cultures throughout time – the Centre is not limited in its study by topic, time, or mandate. As such, the Centre can offer the visiting class its choice of thematic programming within the general areas of Ogwehonweh or Anishnaabe culture.

The museum of the Woodland Cultural Centre was established around the concept of a timeline. Visiting groups are conducted through the museum facility from prehistoric times (circa 1400 AD, although the Centre boasts artifacts up to 12000 years of age), into the present. The dioramas portray the events which have shaped the history (and prehistory) of Southern Ontario as seen through First Nations eyes. From the earliest evidence of Neutral Iroquoian settlements to the modern portrayal of Native people in the world’s media, the Woodland Cultural Centre examines the First Nations cultures and themes prevalent in the landscape of Southern Ontario. The vast number of artifacts and the wealth of knowledge which is present in the museum often leaves instructors to choose a general historic tour of the facilities, making for the best educational option for their students.

Video Presentations: 15 – 30 minutes (or longer)

The choice to begin your tour with one of the many stellar videos in the collection of the Woodland Cultural Centre is another option for instructors to choose from. The Cultural Centre has no desire to repeat activities that can be done just as well or better in a classroom setting; however in this age of financial restrictions the Centre also realizes not all schools have access to the quality of videos available at the Centre. The video presentation option is one half hour in length and is ideal for introducing the Woodland cultures to a class just beginning its study of these cultures. When calling to schedule your tour of the Centre, the Tour Co-Ordinator will be able to aid you regarding video selection and appropriateness.

Special Exhibits/Art Gallery: 1 hour

Secondary and Post Secondary school curriculum courses of study can also be examined through the Woodland Cultural Centre’s changing exhibits. Approximately every two months the Centre hosts a new First Nations exhibit (or 2) which can be used to more closely examine the nuances of Woodland cultures. For instance, many of the special exhibits center upon First Nations art and artists; as such, the Woodland Cultural Centre offers interested groups the opportunity to learn more about First Nations art and provides an opportunity for sketching. Please check with the Programming & Exhibitions Calendar to get a listing of events.

Residential School Tours: 1 – 1 ½ hour

The Woodland Cultural Centre occupies the buildings formerly used by the Mohawk Institute, a residential school for Native children that closed in 1970. The Cultural Centre was created as a direct result of the cultural abuse (one of many types of abuse present at this school) suffered by those young people who attended school at the “Mush Hole”, as a means to combat cultural genocide. Although many of the rooms have been remodeled, the Centre still maintains stark evidence of its former use. In order to educate Canada’s young regarding this blight on Canadian-Native relations so that it might never happen again, the Cultural Centre offers tours of the Residential School. Taken from the events and stories of the school in the early to mid twentieth century, the residential school tour highlights student experiences, living conditions, rules and regulations, and government response to these realities.

Students can expect to find evidence of many things from graffiti to turn of the century laundry facilities during this tour. Teachers are cautioned to remember this is not a “feel good” tour and will be graphic, horrific and emotional for very sensitive people. Please use your best discretion when choosing this tour option – it is the greatest resource the Woodland Cultural Centre has at our disposal for teaching cultural understanding but it is also terrifyingly real.

Panel Discussions: 1 hour

Visiting groups with a focus on current First Nations issues would benefit from the opportunity to engage in debate and discussion with Native people actively involved in the focal issue. Panel discussions involve the selection of a focal issue (i.e., Residential School, Land Claims, Spirituality, etc); if the focal issue is one that local First Nations are pursuing, the Centre’s Museum Education Co-Ordinator will then arrange for guest speakers and support materials for the students. As the guest speakers are taking time from their own daily tasks, requesting groups will be required to pay these speakers a honourarium ($100.00 per panelist). This honourarium is in addition to the admission fee to the Woodland Cultural Centre, and should be paid directly to the panelists in cash.

Students who have participated in this type of learning at the Centre have always become caught up in the discussion; and while their stance on the issue may not change, their understanding of the Native perspective is always enhanced.

Craft Workshops: 1 – 1 ½ hours (Mandatory with Full Day Tour)

Enabling students to learn by doing is an aspect of the Cultural Centre’s repertoire which can be incorporated into a half or full day tour, completing the Woodland experience. Simple yet challenging traditional techniques are employed to demonstrate to students the appreciation Woodland people had (and have) for their environment and material possessions – when one has to make all of their possessions (rather than purchase them), one tends to feel more respectful of the items themselves. Secondary and Post Secondary Instructors can choose from Pottery or Real Bone Bracelets/Armbands workshops for their class’ enjoyment and education. To cover the cost of materials for these creations, all participants are assessed a craft workshop fee.

Workshops are placed into a cultural context with the what, when, where, why, and how answered through diagrams, verbal explanations, and displays according to the chosen workshop.

Demographics & Land Claims Workshop: 45 to 60 minutes

To help students understand the complexities of Ogwehonweh land claims, the Museum Education program offers this unique workshop experience that is an intriguing mix of technology, education, and hands-on interaction. Using a PowerPoint presentation to outline the changing land base of First Nations along with a rapidly growing young population, this workshop details Six Nations of the Grand River land claims. An interactive land claims demonstration, wherein students experience the concept of land loss, highlights this activity.

The land claims demonstration – “the best demonstration of land claims bringing about student understanding and empathy” [Instructor, Private School] - has been highly successful with participants, with many favourable comments from secondary and post secondary participants and instructors.

How Pricing Works:

When booking a tour of the Woodland Cultural Centre, instructors will be advised as to the pricing of the activities they select. A Secondary School tour lasts 2 – 3 hours and can incorporate two to three activities. A full-day tour lasts 4 – 5 hours and usually incorporates 3 or 4 activities, one of which is a craft workshop.

All student visitors pay the admission rate. If your group desires a guided tour, a guide fee is added to the admission rate. With the guided tour fee a number of supplementary programs are offered at no extra charge – video presentations, and some special exhibition tours. If your group would like special programming (panel discussion, land claims workshop, residential school tour, etc) an additional fee is added to the total admission.

If your group then wants to stay for a full day tour a workshop fee is added to the admission, programming and guided tour fees.