Similar to many journeys that end with staking a flag to mark a significant achievement, École St. Gerard School students, staff and community held a Treaty 6 flag raising ceremony to recognize progress along their journey of learning about treaties and the need for reconciliation.
Community leaders from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc., the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, and the city of Saskatoon joined Board of Education Chair Diane Boyko and the Catholic-school community for the celebration on March 20.
The process of planning for this special event gave school staff and the school community an opportunity to grow in knowledge of treaty relationships. "There was a realization within our community that we needed to know more about this to move forward, and we are able to bring in the expertise of our elders and knowledge keepers to come in and guide us, to share, and to walk along with us in the journey," said Cristin Dorgan Lee, the teacher who has been instrumental in the process.
"From a Catholic perspective, we incorporated the act of reconciliation—with ourselves, others and with God—in making sure this is the best world," said Dorgan Lee. "We undertook studying and learning more about treaties. We brought in speakers to come and share their knowledge of treaties and how we can grow in understanding of our own treaty relationships."
Throughout the celebration, École St. Gerard students shared what they had learned: the spirit and intent of treaties, treaty relationships, treaty promises and provisions, and the historical context of treaties. They were joined by students in the fiddle program at St. Michael Community School (which Dorgan Lee also teaches), who played the Métis National Anthem, and the St. Frances Cree Bilingual School drummers, who accompanied St. Gerard students while singing a Treaty 6 song.
"Dorgan Lee concluded, "I think we've created a place where we are even more proud of everyone's heritage."
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