Embracing Culture

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Students at St. Mary’s College (SMC) will be getting a better understanding of
Indigenous cultures later this month.

On Tuesday, May 16th, students will participate in SMC’s Culture Day, an experience that’s designed to educate and inform the students about Indigenous cultures and history. The day will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Students in Grades 9 and 10 will start the day by viewing two educational videos that explain treaties and residential schools. After each video concludes, the students will participate in an interactive activities designed to engage them and increase their understanding of the importance of treaties and the harm caused by residential schools.

Students in Grades 11 and 12 will start the day by taking part in a panel discussion involving six First Nations people of various ages and experiences. The panel will highlight people’s personal, social, and cultural experiences in our education system. The panel will challenge students to take one action from the Truth and Reconciliation Report and make a difference for people in the community. Later in the morning, junior students will attend the panel discussion and senior students will view the educational workshops.

“Culture Day is an important opportunity to educate our students at St. Mary’s College about the history, traditions, and cultures of the Indigenous people. Through the videos, activities, and discussions, students will learn about the struggles Indigenous peoples in Canada have gone through, and are still going through. We hope that the knowledge the students will gain throughout the day will encourage them to take action that will ultimately lead to healing and reconciliation in our community,” said SMC Principal, Cindy Sawyer.

To keep with the day’s theme, the students will also be served scone dogs, catered by Smoke Signals, a business located in Garden River First Nation.

To conclude the day, the students will join in a mini-pow wow. The mini-pow wow will consist of dance and drum groups; on-site art and craft vendors; and a presentation on lacrosse, Canada’s national summer sport.

“I commend St. Mary’s College for hosting this event. I am very proud to see how the students will come together in an academic environment to discuss past and current issues that individuals in their school community, and the greater community, are facing,” said Director of Education, John Stadnyk.

SMC’s Culture Day is an important event which reinforces the Board’s commitment to respond to actions recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.