Wednesday, July 06, 2011

How Professors Spend the Summer:
The Heritage Fair

Robert Englebert (see February 10th entry) has been busy introducing the young people of Saskatoon to Métis history.  Below is his special report on his participation in the Saskatoon Regional Youth Heritage Fair...  It sounds like a fun day -- maybe next year he will provide What's Up with a video of him playing the spoons!


For the last couple of years I've been on the organizing committee for the Saskatoon Regional Youth Heritage Fair. Think science fair: but history for students grades 4 to 9.

It has been a great experience. One of the things I've enjoyed the most has been bringing in a Métis fiddler and jiggers to entertain the kids and their parents. This year, Dallas (Fiddler) Boyer and St. Mary's Dance Troupe performed, while I helped kids in the audience learn to play the spoons.

I was also excited to be able to contribute a book prize this year on behalf of the history department. Valerie Korinek and Linda Dietz provided a couple historical fiction books written by Dr. Geoffrey Bilson, which I presented to the winner of the highest judged project at the grade 4-5 level.  Bilson would have approved.  An American specialist who taught at the University of Saskatchewan from 1964-1987, Bilson also had side interests in Canadian medical history and children's historical fiction.

The best part of the Heritage Fair, though, has been spending time meeting the students and talking to them about their projects. Their enthusiasm for history is infectious and has made the Fair one of my favorite events of the year!