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C.P. Blakely School holds 17th annual Indigenous Celebration Day

The annual event at the school is one that continues to grow and gain strength
Students and staff at C.P. Blakely Elementary School recently had the chance to learn more about Indigenous culture and heritage during the school’s 17th annual Indigenous Celebration Day. (photos courtesy the Chinook’s Edge School Division)

C.P. Blakely Elementary School recently held its 17th annual Indigenous Celebration Day.

The impact of the event continues to be felt by students and school staff each year.

While other schools often host similar days in June, either on or before June 21, which is National Indigenous Peoples Day, C.P. Blakely School likes to have its annual celebration in April.

Celebrating Indigenous culture can happen at any time in the year, Principal Anne Frey said.

“Our learning and culture goes beyond a single day. It’s about infusing what we are learning on this day throughout the year.”

As part of the event, students got to hear from Elder John Sinclair who shared stories about Indigenous culture and heritage, played Indigenous games in the gym with Dashayne Morin, learned about the Cree language from Patrick Mitsuing, and learned about tipi teachings from Clare Butterfly.

In the afternoon, students enjoyed performances by Indigenous dancers and drummers.

“We are grateful to learn from Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Elders. We are celebrating today what we’ve learned and the knowledge we have gained on this journey, and continue to build on that,” teacher Jen Pfaff said.

“The knowledge we’ve gained was evident with the quality of questions students asked our presenters. For instance, one student noticed the paintings on a drum and asked the meaning of it, and another question asked about a presenter’s spirit animal. These questions show me that our students come with an awareness and openness to learn more.”

For Butterfly, one of the event’s presenters, the event was also special because he was a former C.P. Blakely student.

“When I was here, there wasn’t this celebration or a tipi - but now there is. It has become a part of the school culture and that’s exciting,” he said.

“I love giving people that don’t know about Indigenous history, traditions and culture, a glimpse into it. That’s truth and reconciliation for me.”

Sarah Baker

About the Author: Sarah Baker

I joined Black Press in March 2023 and am looking forward to sharing stories about the local communities.
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