June 10, 2014: Although the official date for this year’s National Aboriginal Day event is scheduled for June 21, schools in Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) have opted to get a head start on the celebration.
“About four years ago, the First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) group, in consultation with the Division, decided to hold National Aboriginal Day celebrations earlier because the event typically falls in the middle of exam week for our schools,” said PWSD’s FNMI Coordinator, Darrell Willier.
To ensure that more families are able to attend this year’s event, Clairmont Community School (CCS) will celebrate with an evening event at 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, during their final Family Culture Night of the school year. A stew and bannock dinner will be served, followed by a performance by the Bluebird Native Dance Troupe.
Throughout the past school year, the staff at CCS have worked to incorporate FNMI culture into the overall culture of the school. Métis jigging, offered during recess, has proven to be a popular physical activity, especially during the colder months, with the highest weekly attendance reaching 70 student participants from Grades 1-5. Grade 4 students have been learning how to make and play traditional native flutes. Students who have been practicing jigging and the flute will perform at the school-wide event on June 10.
On Thursday, June 19, students at Hythe Regional School will hear presentations from elders including Edward Ferguson, a story teller; Darlene Cardinal, the Medicine Wheel; Angie Cerar, the Métis; Marge Mueller from Native Counselling Services of Alberta; and Lindy Beauchamp Chester, flute player. Following a lunch of stew and bannock, students will be entertained by hoop dancer Clinton Soto at 2:00 p.m.
Robert W. Zahara Public School in Sexsmith opted for an expanded celebration of the event during a full week of FNMI-focused activities at the end of May. Students listened to daily teachings and the national anthem in Cree during morning announcements, and wrapped up the celebration with a round dance led by Glenda Ross, FNMI Liaison Worker.
For details on National Aboriginal Day, visit www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca.
Photo caption: Students and staff at Robert W. Zahara Public School in Sexsmith wrapped up a week-long National Aboriginal Day celebration with a round dance on Friday, May 30, led by FNMI Liaison Worker Glenda Ross.