By Gisele Winton Sarvis
A young First Nation artist’s work can be seen from Gander, N.L., to Victoria, B.C., now that it’s been chosen for a limited-edition Canada Post stamp.Haily Simcoe, a Grade 6 pupil at Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School (MKES) in Rama, won the War of 1812 commemorative stamp contest open to Grade 6 to 8 students from the school. The venture was also taken up separately by the Chippewas of Christian Island and Georgina Island.The Chippewas Tri-Council worked collaboratively to commemorate First Nations warriors’ involvement in the War of 1812 through a variety of projects, such as the stamp.“I’m proud and excited,” Simcoe said. “I’ve been drawing since I was three.”Her favourite subject is art and when the project came up, she jumped at the chance to enter.“We are very proud of her. She loves to draw. She has her sketchbooks full all the time,” said her dad, Ken Simcoe.
Rama First Nation Chief Sharon Stinson Henry said, “This is such a phenomenon. Haily, I don’t think we all realize just what you’ve accomplished and how proud we are of you. You will go down in history.”Project co-ordinator Sherry Lawson said it will help develop Simcoe’s confidence in the arts.“What that does for somebody her age, we will never be able to measure,” said Lawson, the administrator of heritage services.The runners-up were Ethan Quarrington, Grade 8, and Chasidy Shilling, Grade 7, also from MKES. All the students who took part in the project received free movie passes and a pizza and cupcake at the Mnjikaning Public Library.Lawson started working on the stamp project three years ago.Lawson wrote to Canada Post inquiring about the possibility of a stamp, knowing it produces limited-edition stamps for special Canadian commemorations.“I’m a historian. I’m a total history geek, so when I was tasked to do something for War of 1812, my world just opened up,” Lawson said.In addition to the stamp project, a video has been created titled In Focus: Remembering Our Warriors produced by Steve McEown for Rogers TV with community producers Vickie Snache and Brian Charles.The video will become part of the curriculum on the role of native warriors in the War of 1812.Anyone wanting to purchase stamps can call Rama First Nation at 705-325-3611 or email Ben Cousineau of the culture and research department at firstname.lastname@example.org.(Source- Orillia Packet & Times)