Good Spirit School Division 204
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    Yorkton Regional High School Tipi Dedication Event

    July 03, 2018
    tipi2.pngThe Yorkton Regional High School (YRHS) held its Tipi Dedication Event on Thursday, June 21, 2018 in conjunction with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Principal, Mr. Haczkewicz spoke on the significance of the tipi,
    “It’s interesting the range of responses you get when you erect a tipi inside a school.  I’ve stood beside First Nation’s Students that speak with pride as they say, ‘I never thought I’d ever see a day that a tipi would be put up at our school.’ I’ve heard our non-First Nation’s Students quietly and respectfully question the significance of the tipi. When our previous Aboriginal Community Worker, Mrs. Sherrie Bellegarde, conducted a survey of our First Nation’s and Metis Students one of the responses that we both chuckled at was one that said, ‘our school is very vanilla, there really is nothing that represents our culture here.’ There is now. Today we bless a tipi, the first tipi to be erected at a Good Spirit School Division school, and why do we do it?  Two reasons, we do it as a welcoming, as well as a commitment. The YRHS staff want to ensure that all First Nation’s and Metis students, their parents, and their grandparents see their tipi and feel welcome in the school. It seems simple enough, but in reality they know that it will take more than the tipi to erase historical wrong-doings, but they are moving forward and w​ant everyone to know that all students are welcome at the YRHS. We want all of our students and stakeholders to see our tipi and recognize our commitment to learning more about First Nation’s and Metis Culture, our tipi will give our First Nation’s Metis Students a place to practice their culture, our tipi is a symbol of our commitment to doing a better job of integrating First Nation’s and Metis content into our classrooms, a commitment to doing a better job of supporting our First Nation’s and Metis students as they ‘Strive for Excellence’ alongside their non-First Nation’s and Metis classmates and friends.”  
    Lisa Washington, School Community Council (SCC) Vice-Chairperson, delivered a greeting from the YRHS SCC. In her message she spoke of growing up in Calgary, on Treaty 7 Land and compared then and now in saying,
    “There was no Indigenous culture, history, knowledge or ways of knowing taught, shown or embraced in any of the seven schools I attended. I am excited and humbled to see the changes taking place now so my children and others that follow will benefit from these improvements.  I believe and hope that today continues to be a catalyst and generates great conversation around other possibilities we might create to infuse quality Indigenous learning into our school and therefore strengthen our community.  This represents positive growth for both the school and the wider community.” tipi3.png
    Ricky Kitchemonia and the Diamond Willow Singers performed two songs, The Flag Song and The Honour Song. The first selection, was the First Nation’s version of Oh Canada. Elders from around Yorkton joined in the dedication ceremony, Elder Cuthbert Keshane spoke briefly about the significance of the tipi and how we need to learn about the significance of the tipi poles, he went on to say he was proud of the school’s efforts to make the tipi a part of its landscape and is looking forward to what comes next. Elder Margaret Brass spoke of her childhood and growing up in the north. She spoke of how she summered in wig wams and wintered in log cabins. She mentioned being taken away from her parents at the age of 5 and how they tried to take her language and culture away from her, but they weren’t successful. She brimmed with pride when she spoke of learning her Native Language of Sauteaux before English. Elder Brass also mentioned how proud she is to be a part of the YRHS in helping our students learn about their culture through her Beading Club. Dianna Kozak was thanked for her efforts in organizing the celebration as well as for procuring the tipi. Mrs. Kozak is the school’s Aboriginal Community Worker and works tirelessly in support of our First Nation’s and Metis Students.  She also spoke of plans to form a ‘tipi club’ in the fall of 2018-19. The club will learn the history of the tipi, and then move on to painting it as well as using it for further cultural learnings and celebrations.​