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Discovering First Nations' culture with Youth Of The World

With Indigenous Peoples’ Day approaching next month, what better time to introduce First Nations culture to the Afrocats and kittens than by getting creative and making some majestic totem poles?

Totem poles serve as symbols of diverse heritage, and are a way of recording a First Nation’s tribe or clan’s stories, peoples, and important events from California to British Columbia – and can stand up to a whopping 18 metres tall.

They are sculpted from the wood of the red cedar tree so that everyone is able to see them from far and wide in the community they represent, and their distinct markings and patterns can show humans, animals, and spiritual beings.

Guided by expert intercultural art practitioner Nayna, Afrocats explored the history and culture behind these impressive sculptures – with gasps coming from our young people when they learned that they were often carved with… beaver teeth!

Using easy and straightforward art materials and printable templates, Afrocats celebrated the survival of the Pacific Northwest’s Indigenous peoples and culture by crafting their own three-dimensional totem poles – and boy did they get imaginative with their designs.

Nayna’s own handmade totem pole even made sure to hang out in Cross Street Chapel where he made some new friends in Manchester – something that we at Afrocats love to see.

Finally, after getting crafty with their totem poles, the session finished on a fun dance session with Magdalen to loosen up those muscles – her energy is never-ending even after running around looking after everyone all afternoon!

Thanks to the Afrocats for coming to our session, and see you next week for some more craft and dancing fun!

To discover more about First Nations totem poles and the history and culture behind them, visit Indigenous Foundations.

You can also help us fund our inclusive work for vulnerable young asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester by visiting our Support Us page.

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