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F.P. Walshe grads receive sacred eagle feather blessing

Blackfoot elder Peter Strikes With A Gun conducts the eagle feather blessing ceremony for Grade 12 student Maddison Scout.

Jay and Patrick Bad Eagle performed an honour song for the 13 graduating F.P. Walshe school First Nations and Metis students.

A sacred Blackfoot tradition was carried out at F.P. Walshe school with an eagle feather blessing ceremony.
Blackfoot elder Peter Strikes With A Gun blessed the eagle feathers for 13 graduating First Nations and Metis students.
“This blessing is a preparation of responsibility,” Strikes With A Gun said. “The eagle feather has been used within our people for generations. It guides us in all our celebrations, in all our gatherings.”
The eagle is one of the most sacred symbols in First Nations culture.
The graduating students are Grace Boutland, Haley Cervo, A.J. Eagle Tail Feathers Collar, Brandon Curly Rider, Bailey Davis, Bradi-Anne Feller, Harlee Grier, Ethan Many Bears, Amelia North Peigan, Isaiah North Peigan, McKenzie Phillips, Maddison Scout and Stephanie Tobler.
“This is a very memorable event,” Strikes With A Gun said. “When you get your eagle feather it is the beginning of a responsibility.”
The ceremony was carried out in the school gymnasium in front of a set designed and built by teacher Dan Orr and decorated by art teacher Shannon Tynan.
“This is one of my truly favourite things that happens all year,” F.P. Walshe principal Sterling Paiha said. “It is an indicator of the connectedness that we have as a school with our First Nations friends.”
“We are so proud of these students. They are some of the best and brightest that we have.”
Paiha said the 13 students will be leaders not only in their First Nations community, but within society in general.
Kyle Blood, who is a child and youth worker at F.P. Walshe school, was master of ceremonies.
“This is a chapter of your life that you are about to close,” Blood told the students. “It is a new chapter that is about to open.”
Blood told the students that life will test them, but when they need guidance and encouragement, the elders of their community are there to help.
Strikes With A Gun agreed, saying elders have gone through many tests in their lives and have wisdom to share.
“We are educated by the many different types of storms we have gone through,” he said. “It makes a person much wiser, stronger, and gives better understanding of how they can teach their children.”
Eagle feathers were formally presented Friday to the 13 students in front of hundreds of family and friends during the F.P. Walshe school cap and gown ceremony.

Blackfoot elder Peter Strikes With A Gun conducts the eagle feather blessing ceremony for Grade 12 student Maddison Scout.

Jay and Patrick Bad Eagle performed an honour song for the 13 graduating F.P. Walshe school First Nations and Metis students.

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