Building community is an ongoing priority in our north of McKnight Boulevard schools. This began with a family dinner in September hosted by Terry Fox School, for all our Aboriginal families from O.S. Geiger School, Falconridge School, Grant MacEwan School and Nelson Mandela High School respectively.
The dust hadn’t settled from our first Community Aboriginal Family Feast on Sept. 20th, 2016 and several parents asked, “When are we going to do this again?” and stated, “We should have a Round Dance!” That sparked our most current community event.
Our journey embraced conversations in the spirit of reciprocity, honour and respect. In February, Grant MacEwan School welcomed our families to join our respective staff members, elders and stakeholders to a round dance in celebration of a new year and new beginnings. Collectively we have gained much; new understandings, celebrated individuality, strength in community, new relationships, open conversations, newfound confidence, and reveled spreading smiles.
The voice of our community:
“Events like these give power to the community to share their culture, we have just created the opportunity.”
“It was awesome to go to the round dance and there was food! I learned about my culture.”
“At the feast, I really liked it, it is my connection to my culture. I have been learning about The Deer Song in class. I heard it at the feast and it is a connection to indigenous people.”
“Going to The Feast, Round Dance and being a part of Cultural Club has helped me learn life lessons and makes me feel more connected to my culture and my school.”
“Events like these are so important, our children need to learn our ways.”
“Seeing our students that are normally be so reserved in class become so animated at the Round Dance was the greatest gift.”
“The greatest impact of tonight will be the next time our staff meet with our families, in person or by phone, the conversation will start differently. This is a gift.”
Opening our doors to celebrating Indigenous culture in our community, coming to new understandings in both teaching and learning in our North East schools and starting new conversations that pave the way forward have been our reward. Walking together, our schools and our community members are setting new directions toward Truth and Reconciliation.