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Livingstone Range School Division pow wow part of Truth and Reconciliation calls to action

More than 1,500 students from across Livingstone Range School Division will pour into Fort Macleod tomorrow for a pow wow.
The Ohkaniposiyo’op — Getting Everyone Together pow wow begins with the grand entry at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 3 and continues with breakout sessions at W.A. Day and F.P. Walshe schools.
“The fact that the biggest event in Livingstone Range School Division history is a celebration of indigenous culture tells me that the future is bright for all of our students,” First Nations, Metis and Inuit liaison at F.P. Walshe Duane Petluk said. “That is why we have planned this special day, and I hope that everyone leaves on Thursday with a stronger connection to indigenous culture.”
The pow wow promotes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.
Previous school pow wows in Fort Macleod have only involved students from W.A. Day and F.P. Walshe school.
The event was extended this year to include young people from across Livingstone Range.
“”I have been teaching for many years and I have never, ever, been a part of an event that I am more proud of,” Petluk said. “Ohkaniposiyo’op — Getting Everyone Together, makes me proud to be a Livingstone Range School Division teacher, proud to be an F.P. Walshe teacher and proud to be indigenous.”
W.A. Day school principal Richard Feller in a news release said the event builds understanding while aligning with Alberta Education curriculum on First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture.
“It is our sincere intention to create an authentic and engaging learning opportunity to help bring meaning for students as they participate within the Alberta learning agenda,” Feller said. “This provides an occasion to build positive relationships and reciprocal understanding. (We learn) about how our First Nations view themselves and our world as we walk together.”
Half the students will stay at the F.P. Walshe sports field to take part in the pow wow through the morning.
The other half of the students will go to breakout sessions at W.A. Day and F.P. Walshe schools.
The following breakout sessions are planned:

  • Blackfoot elder Peter Weasel Moccasin and F.P. Walshe Grade 12 student Tristan Black Water will show students in the morning how to assemble and raise a teepee.
  • In the afternoon there will be storytelling in the teepee.

  • Actors Troy Twigg and Michelle Thrush will tell Napi stories.
  • Trina Eagle Tailfeathers will teach students to make hide chokers.
  • Greta Many Bears will discuss traditional art.
  • Metis elder Rod McLeod will talk to students about Metis culture.
  • Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump interpreter Stan Knowlton will give a “living off the land” presentation.
  • Michelle Klinginbird will talk to students about Inuit culture.
  • Filmmaker Cowboy Smithx will present and discuss his latest film Elder in the Making, with a question and answer session to follow.
  • Shirlee Crow Shoe or Sherri Day Chief will discuss traditional foods,
  • Jaron Weasel Bear will teach traditional drumming.
  • Elder Leo Fox will talk to students about the Blackfoot language.
  • Jason Plain Eagle will get students involved in traditional games.
  • Marilyn Contoyse will demonstrate traditional dancing.
  • Blood Tribe medicine man Joe Eagle Tail Feathers will explain the traditional smudge and plants and medicines.
  • Denise Gaetz will discuss indigenous art, with all students leaving with a medicine bag they have made.
  • Post secondary round table with representatives of the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College.

Organizers have reached out to the community for support in the form of donations of items for lunch or cash.
Fort Macleod council last week voted to donate $500 to help fund the pow wow.
“The pow wow will be the first of its kind in the community to promote the calls to action through a process of reconciliation, increased cultural awareness, promotion of unity and fostering positive relationships between all based on mutual understanding and respect,” explained Georgina Henderson, the school division’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit success co-ordinator, explained in a letter to council.

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