Indigenous Peoples around the world are the stewards of incredible networks of knowledge and history. By accessing Indigenous wisdom, society as a whole stands to discover millennia of expertise and learn more about our connection with the land we all share. Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg, the capital of central Canada’s province of Manitoba, wanted to provide students an opportunity to learn about the Anishinaabe Peoples, their cultures, and the histories of their region. So the division partnered with Microsoft Canada and Minecraft: Education Edition to create Manito Ahbee Aki, the world’s first Anishinaabe community built in Minecraft. The project was led by the LRSD Indigenous Council of Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers from Manitoba, and LRSD’s Indigenous Education staff.
Manito Ahbee Aki transports students back in time to Manitoba as it existed prior to European contact in North America. They’ll live amongst the Anishinaabe Peoples in order to learn and understand how they thrived on this land together while living in harmony with Mother Earth. As a member of the Anishinaabe Nation, learners experience three different phases of the game that will build their understanding of this particular Indigenous worldview as they gain insights from Knowledge Keepers, building respect for the earth and her offerings.
The World of Manito Ahbee Aki
Part 1: The Forks
Students spawn at The Forks, a historic site in Winnipeg and the place where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. This meeting place was also an important gathering site for the Anishinaabe Peoples. At The Forks, Indigenous Peoples would come together to trade and collaborate with each other. The Forks is still a significant meeting place in modern Winnipeg where people gather to explore the region’s history, visit the marketplace, or simply take in the area’s cultural teachings.
Part 2: The Petroforms
Next, students will learn about the Manitoba petroforms, which are ancient rock formations of animals and characters from the Anishinaabe Peoples’ history and culture. As they wander through the petroforms, learners will uncover information about each of these unique creations. Storytelling is a universal human impulse, and by learning about Anishinaabe stories, students will gain a greater appreciation for Indigenous knowledge.
Part 3: Thriving Communities
Finally, the world reinforces the importance of social collaboration and teamwork. Students establish a community by building their tipis, participating in a bison hunt, and establishing food sovereignty through farming. From the bison hunt to agriculture, working together as a team to ensure the community’s food security is an essential lesson in cooperation.
You can also extend the learning with additional activities that explore the Anishinaabe worldview, history, and culture. Learn about the Seven Teachings, Four Medicines, and even Anishinaabemowin vocabulary!
This world is available free in Minecraft: Education Edition’s in-game and online libraries. Explore guiding ideas, lesson plans, and student guides here.
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