July 23rd, 2024

St. Pat’s highlights Indigenous culture with teepee celebration

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on June 3, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman St. Patrick's Fine Arts School students place their teepee creations around the teepee representing unity during a learning celebration Thursday at the school.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

St. Patrick’s Fine Arts School students, staff, family and friends had the opportunity Thursday to celebrate what students have learned about Indigenous culture with a teepee celebration.
Over the last few months, students have been working closely with Christina Fox, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit support worker and Shelley Kirkvold, coordinator of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit learning to create their own teepees to reflect their families, their values and their dreams.
To begin the celebration every student placed their teepee creations around the main teepee which symbolized union and togetherness according to Indigenous relations coordinator of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division, Corey Fox.
While the children were placing their teepees, two members of the White Buffalo Singers played the drums and sang Indigenous songs. And once they finished placing the teepees, students sat down across from the teepee to listen to the opening prayer which was partially in the form of a song by Christina Fox.
After that, Corey Fox shared some stories with those in attendance and interacted with the students.
During the celebration he said he was thankful to be able to gather again after COVID-19 restrictions for the last two years and was happy to have the teepee celebration at the school once again as he has done in the past for four years prior to the pandemic.
When talking to the media Fox said he was very touched by the show of community put forth by St. Patrick’s school.
“As you can see the beautiful creations by the children, I’m just happy to have shared that energy that was brought forth by it and I love sharing our culture,” said Fox.
He said he was thankful to the city of Lethbridge in regards to the current relationship building that has gone forward.
Fox said the teepees students created were unique to each student having their own story brought forth within it in regards to family, community and events.
Grade 2 student Caitlin Mikilak shared with the media her teepee creation and said she had a sunset on it because her grandma, who has passed away, really liked watching the sunset.
“I like drawing sunsets because they’re different colours and today I learned that there is a lot of different ways to say different words in Blackfoot,” said Mikilak.
She said it is important that her and her classmates learn about Indigenous heritage in their classes.
“If we didn’t, I don’t think any of this would have happened and we wouldn’t learn much about Indigenous people,” said Mikilak.
She said her favourite part of the celebration was the drumming, singing and dancing.

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