Categorized | News

Medicine wheel is focus of Piikani parent conference

Traditional drumming and singing accompanied the grand entry.

Traditional drumming and singing accompanied the grand entry.

Student work was displayed in the gymnasium.

Student work was displayed in the gymnasium.

Student work was displayed in the gymnasium.

Student work was displayed in the gymnasium.

Conference organizers set up displays in the school gymnasium.

Conference organizers set up displays in the school gymnasium.

piikani

Parents and grandparents went to school Friday on the Piikani Nation.
They were taking part in the 2016 parent conference at Piikani Nation Secondary School.
The conference had the theme “Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities, Healthy Families and Healthy Schools.”
“The theme of this year’s conference is focusing on the medicine wheel,” principal Crystal Good Rider explained. “The medicine wheel covers the whole child. We have the spiritual, the emotional, the physical and the academic component.”
Good Rider spoke of what she called the “Piikani Advantage” in education, explaining there are no school fees, sports fees, students have access to free hot breakfast and lunch programs, and the Blackfoot language is taught in the school.
Good Rider stressed the importance of preserving the Blackfoot language and learning to speak it. One of her own goals is to speak fluent Blackfoot to teachers, students and the community.
“That is something that is really important,” Good Rider said.
Peigan Board of Education superintendent Lisa Crow Shoe, who is in her second year in the position after 23 years as a classroom teacher, praised the people attending the conference.
“For me my guiding force was really my parents and grandparents,” Crow Shoe said. “They really were the guiding force in my life, so when we look at that medicine wheel as we start our activities today, in that medicine wheel really is family.”
“For me, the center of everything I do is family. As a mother, as a sister, as a grandmother and as an auntie, we take our roles in the community and we try to help those around us to fill all those four quadrants of the medicine wheel.”
Crow Shoe praised the staff for the work they did preparing the conference agenda to ensure the spiritual, emotional, physical and academic quadrants of the medicine wheel were covered.
Peigan Board of Education trustee Margaret Potts was pleased to see a large turn-out of parents and elders.
“It’s nice to see a crowd like this,” Potts said.
Piikani Nation elder Rose Pard gave a prayer in Blackfoot to open the conference.
“My prayers will go out to help you out, to keep the school alive,” she said. “With all the things that have been happening I’m really anxious to be here every morning . . . just to be with the little children in the classrooms. I enjoy the children.”
A moment of silence was observed for Piikani Nation members who had recently died.
Following the opening ceremonies people took in their choice of sessions.
“We have an informative, jampacked morning for you,” master of ceremonies Lincoln Irwin said.
Sessions were grouped under the headings of physical, academic and emotional.
Participants had to choose one from each category and have their passport stamped for a chance to win prizes.
Sessions and leaders in the academic category were:

  • Welcome to K5: early literacy and numeracy — Connie Dersch-Gunderson and Carolyn Little Mustache.
  • How to be successful in junior and senior high — Jonathan Blankson and Lincoln Irwin.
  • Female and male roles in the 21st century — Allan Pard.
  • Traditional parenting — Lucille Provost.
  • Sessions and leaders in the emotional category were:

  • Helping manage and relieve stress — Steve Thibodeaux.
  • Healing ways — Lowa Beebe.
  • Hairdos — Diddi First Rider and Melody Iron Shirt.
  • How to care for yourself day-to-day — Betty Anne Little Wolf.
  • Sessions and leaders in the physical category were:

  • Healthy eating: rice wraps and smoothies — Sue Leong-Neumann.
  • Healthy living — Darcia Provost.
  • Traditional foods: how to make berry soup — Joanne Yellow Horn, Betty Smith and Vera Potts.

Following the breakout sessions keynote speakers Allan Pard and Shirley Crow Shoe talked about traditional parenting in the 21st century.
In addition to the sessions, participants were introduced to a variety of resources at booths agencies set up in the school hallways.

Comments are closed.