Goota Desmarais shares her Inuit culture with students at Bruderheim School.

Goota Desmarais shares her Inuit culture with students at Bruderheim School.

Sherwood Park, AB. — Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) students and staff are connecting with the land this National Indigenous Peoples Day. They’ve also been taking part in National Indigenous History Month—which occurs annually in June—and celebrates the rich heritage, contributions and diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.

On June 21, schools across the Division are hosting a Lunch on the Land to bring together their school communities in celebration and provide an opportunity to learn from the land around them. Staff, students and families will also take part in a variety of activities focused on recognizing and learning about the histories, cultures and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples.

For National Indigenous History Month, Bruderheim School welcomed Goota Desmarais to share her Inuit culture through storytelling and song. Students were shown traditional clothing, food, artifacts and furs. “My favourite part was tasting the arctic char! It tasted like salmon,” says Logan Braun, a Grade 3 student at Bruderheim School.

Bruderheim teacher Ariane Taylor was happy to host Desmarais in her class. “Having Goota share her knowledge and love of the Inuit culture was a gift. She’s an amazing speaker who captured our attention with her stories, songs, artifacts and teachings. Students and staff learned so much from her.”

Bruderheim students will also work again with Stacey Shearing and Ellie Lagrandeur to create a collaborative mural for their school—similar to what the school did to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in September.

“Across the Division, schools are taking action to host respectful activities that seek to embrace Indigenous traditions with the wisdom and guidance of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Elders and educators,” says Cathy Allen, the Board Chair of EIPS. “Through these activities, we work to honour the past, present and future of First Nations, Métis and Inuit families, and create a space where everyone can feel welcome, safe, respected and included.”

Other activities in EIPS include guest speakers, music, dancing, traditional games and schoolwide art projects. National Indigenous Peoples Day is a nationally recognized day, with June 21 chosen because of the cultural significance of the summer solstice—the first day of summer and the longest day of the year—and a day many Indigenous groups traditionally celebrate their heritage.

For more information on EIPS First Nations, Métis and Inuit education visit


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,750 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.



For more information, media can contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902