January 31, 2020

Ellengale student receives a special visit from Indigenous Canadian singer


When grade 5 student Madeline Derderian chose to write a biography on Leela Gilday, an Indigenous Canadian singer and songwriter from Yellowknife, she never thought that she would soon be spending the morning listening to her perform in her school library.​

Scott Copeland, Madeline's grade 5 teacher at Ellengale Public School, was searching for a way for his students to learn about contemporary Indigenous peoples who are painting the mosaic of Canada. He compiled a list of celebrated Indigenous Canadians from diverse fields including sports, the arts and medicine, and challenged his class to pick an individual and tell their life's story in a biography as a project for his Indigenous Studies class.​

"It's important for students to learn about the current contributions of Indigenous peoples in addition to their history," says Copeland. ​

Madeline selected Leela Gilday, a Juno Award-winning artist from the Dene Nation. "I like to sing," says Madeline, "and when I found out that Leela was a singer, I thought​ I could do my biography on her."

Read the full story on Share the Smile​.

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