For one school in Wetaskiwin, National Aboriginal Day took on special meaning in 2015.
Usually held on June 21, Ecole Queen Elizabeth school instead recognized the day June 17 with a full day of First Nations activities. It was the first time the school had hosted such a full day event, and included guests such as elder Wilson Okeymaw, Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot, WRPS trustees, break out instructors, the CB McMurdo hoop dance troupe, RCMP, Parkdale School junior boys drum group and the Maskwacis Maskwa Drummers.
Myra LaFrance, Maskwacis Wahkotowin (“kinship”) liaison, noted the school community had a very busy day of activities. In the morning students, staff and other guests began the day with a traditional invocation and tipi raising, then toured 13 different venues in the school that allowed them to participate in a First Nations activity such as making arrowheads.
The school community enjoyed a BBQ lunch then got right back into First Nations culture. The school hosted a mini-powwow at the tipi. Dancers performed traditional ladies, jungle, chicken and many other styles.
LaFrance said the school community said the first ever Aboriginal Day at Queen Elizabeth school went well. “ I believe it was well received,” she said.