Today is National Aboriginal Day in Canada.
In the spirit of friendship and unity , trustees, staff and students participated in a sacred Smudging Ceremony led by Saugeen First Nations representative Theresa Root.
The ceremony involved the burning of sage and a prayer spoken in Root’s native tongue.
Theresa Root says the education system has made great strides when it comes to recognizing the culture and history of the First Nations People but more must be done.
She calls the local school board’s First Nation Language classes a good start.
Root says it’s time to build upon this and incorporate a heavier emphasis on First Nations history, culture and accomplishments in the curriculum.
By doing this she says First Nations students will feel more accepted within the schools and take greater pride in their heritage.
Root notes that when she went to school there was nothing in place to recognize the First Nations People, she is pleased that this is no longer the case.
Over the years the Catholic Board has implemented initiatives such as the Ojibway as a Second Language program and purchased history books that better highlight the First Nations People as a means of promoting the First Nations Culture.
There are also more First Nations poster and artifacts within the schools to better represent First Nations students.