Elder Wilson and Joe Ground erect a tipi at EIPS Central Services

Elder Wilson and Joe Ground erect a tipi at EIPS Central Services

Around the Division

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day acknowledged throughout EIPS
The federal government fulfilled one of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by creating a national day of commemoration and learning about the history and legacy of residential schools. September 30 was selected as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Divisionwide events of learning, reflecting and remembrance happened on September 29—but staff and students across EIPS are committed to deepening their foundational knowledge of colonization as well as the histories, cultures and perspectives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit throughout the school year.

Here is a letter from Ardrossan Junior Senior High student, Samuel Clark, explaining the powerful display set up at his school:

For this year's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Ardrossan Social Justice Club and I, with huge contributions by my mother, set up a display consisting of 751 orange hearts, arranged across the western lawns of Ardrossan Jr/Sr. This project was initially the idea of Mr. McKinnon, AJS First Nations, Metis, Inuit Lead. He came to us to get some ideas for September 30. Together, we came up with visualizing the residential schools' impact through the dispersal of orange hearts across the lawn. We settled on "751" as that was the largest single concentration of unmarked graves found to date. These graves were found at the Marieval Indian Residential school in southeast Saskatchewan. After I told my mother the plan, she wanted to take part as well. With the help of her stencil machine, she cut all the hearts so we could get them in the ground Wednesday evening. On Wednesday, Mr. McKinnon and his Grade 7 class prepared over half of them, and a few Grade 11s and 12s helped during their spares before lunch to get the rest ready. We managed to get all the hearts in place in under 30 minutes thanks to the enthusiastic Grade 7s and, took it down within 15 minutes on Friday before the bell. I want to thank everyone that helped build this incredibly powerful display, namely my mother, who spent upwards of 6 hours cutting the hearts and even drove the sign down during my lunch break. This entire project was deeply impactful for everyone involved, and I believe the collaborative effort was truly in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation. I want to thank everyone involved, the AJS Social Justice Club.

Special displays were also put up at a number of other EIPS schools, including one from Fort Saskatchewan High teacher Renetta Peddle and one at SouthPointe School. 

Woodbridge Farms Land-based Culture Camp at Strathcona Wilderness Centre
First Nations, Métis and Inuit families of Woodbridge Farms Elementary attended a weekend culture camp at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre September 25 and 26. Elders and knowledge holders shared traditional skills and teachings such as meat smoking, hide scraping, working with diamond willow and storytelling. The collective experience in a natural land-based setting brought generations together and celebrated the spirit of family and community. Many thanks to Elder Bert, Elder Gilman, Elder Russell, knowledge holders Julliette and Lloyd, and First Nations, Métis and Inuit education lead teacher Anita Sisson for creating such a wonderful teaching and learning event. EIPS looks forward to working with Elders and knowledge holders to create future culture camps like this for students throughout the Division.

Learning from the Land Spaces at Central Services
When you drive along Wye Road in Sherwood Park and pass by EIPS Central Services, you might notice a new addition! The tipi poles recently erected are the first step in an exciting new project, thanks to Elder Wilson Bearhead. The Division's work in imagining land-based learning spaces across EIPS honours his teachings and follows the path walked with him. His one enduring teaching is for each EIPS school to know their story with land and place and to breathe life to that story. Elder Wilson continues to be the guide in this journey, and he worked alongside Superintendent Mark Liguori to create a land-based learning space at Central Services. The central space will lead the Division as an example of learning from and with the land. It will showcase Elk Island Public Schools' commitment to bring to life the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the commitment to honour its responsibility as a Treaty 6 partner.

Upcoming Events

  • Elk Island Public Schools Global National Feature
    In September, Global National was at Glen Allan Elementary filming for an upcoming story for their current affairs TV show, “The New Reality.” Various people were involved in the filming including Glen Allan students and teachers along with Elder Wilson Bearhead and Superintendent Mark Liguori. Thank you to Glen Allan for hosting and making everyone feel welcome.
    The segment is scheduled to air on Global’s “The New Reality” program on October 30. It will be on at 7 p.m. that evening across all markets and time zones (e.g., 7 p.m. in Toronto, 7 p.m. in Edmonton, etc). There will be a YouTube version and an online piece.

Resources of Interest

Interested in learning about Indigenous sports role models with your family in a COVID-safe, online format?
An invitation to you from our friends at Roots of Resilience.
We’re so excited to be back at it for a second year of speakers series kicking off with the fall series “Indspired Through Sports,” providing an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous resilience and success after the hard but necessary truth learning we all did leading up to the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This speakers series will feature six incredible Indigenous athletes with different sports and backgrounds. From Bullriding to Dance we’ll hear of their motivations, their setbacks and what pushes them to continue to strive for greatness. This series is going to be a great opportunity for students to get a look into what these professional athletes have gone through to get to where they are today and give a new outlook at the many possibilities sports can open up to youth! The series will also help teachers and adults see first-hand the importance of sports as an avenue to responsibility and success.

Speakers and dates:

  • October 14: J.R. LaRose (Football)
  • October 21: Dakota Louis (Bullrider)
  • October 28: Kendra Jessie (Dancer, Fitness Coach & Tiktok influencer)
  • November 4: Mathew Rathbone (Hockey)
  • November 12: Sonya Dodginghorse (Barrel Racing)
  • November 18: Angie Lightning (the importance of sports for youth)

Tickets are available online (one price for the whole family).