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Indigenous Perspectives Honoured in SRPSD

SRPSD’s Indigenous Perspectives Consultant and Coaches organized virtual opportunities for classes from grades 1 – 12 from throughout the division to listen and learn from Indigenous storytellers in honour of Indigenous Storytelling month in February.

  • Twenty grade 7 – 12 SRPSD classes attended sessions with Cree storyteller, Joseph Naytowhow who shared sacred stories and songs. Every session with Joseph was unique as he played the flute and drum, jigged, and shared stories that connected with the hearts and minds of his audiences.
  • Over 25 grade 1 – 4 classes enjoyed weekly sessions with Elder Liz Settee throughout February. Elder Liz spoke about one of the four sacred medicines each week and shared medicine wheel teachings as well. We appreciate Elder Liz’s willingness to share her wisdom with all ages as she shared weekly sessions with grade 5 – 8 classes earlier this year and will be joining high school classes in April.
  • Métis storyteller and retired educator, Cort Dogniez, shared a variety of stories with over 90 grade 1 – 12 SRPSD classes. Cort was able to make connections to Valentine’s Day and Pink Shirt Day in his presentations to grades 1 – 4 classes as he focused on traditional stories that teach about kindness and love. In the presentations for grades 5 – 9, Cort focused on historical Métis stories and in the grades 10 – 12 sessions Cort tailored it to his more mature audience with a traditional love story and a few scary stories. All of the sessions with Cort were entertaining as he is a dynamic storyteller who is able to connect with all ages.
  • Over 90 SRPSD grade 3 – 12 classrooms were also blessed to listen to and learn from Tala Tootoosis, a recognized knowledge keeper in the area of ribbon skirts, as she shared perspectives regarding ribbon skirt teachings. Tala’s vulnerability and knowledge resonated with her audiences.

Tala’s presentation along with resources shared by the SRPSD Indigenous Perspectives Team helped students and staff prepare for SRPSD’s inaugural Ribbon Skirt and Ribbon Shirt Day on Friday, March 5th. Those who have a ribbon skirt/ribbon shirt and have the teachings and story connected to it were encouraged to wear it with pride, to share the story and to feel empowered. We recognized that not everyone may have a ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt and for many it is not part of their culture or story, so a few options were provided so everyone was able to demonstrate solidarity with Indigenous people. Wearing an article of clothing from one’s own culture, wearing any skirt, or creating a pin of a ribbon skirt or shirt are ways SRPSD students and staff created space and showed respect for Indigenous people. The importance of this day was also in the rich learning about Indigenous ways of knowing and being, the teachings shared, and in the many deep conversations, it promoted.

As was shared in the note home to families, the road to reconciliation is paved by the commitments of all of us to do our part to create safe and inclusive learning spaces.  Thank you to school communities and the greater Prince Albert community for truly embracing this day as one where we can all stand in solidarity with Indigenous people and move forward together in the spirit of reconciliation.