Children of St. Martha School receives Blackfoot name

By Ryan Clarke

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Children of St. Martha School held a fall powwow Wednesday  bringing students from across the area together to celebrate Indigenous  culture with student drummers and dancing.

 

St.  Patrick Fine Arts, Our Lady of the Assumption and St.

Patrick School in  Taber were among those coming to the celebration.

Elder Peter Strikes  with a Gun also added to the celebration, bestowing the school with a  Blackfoot name, Naatoowootak’oyis, meaning Holy Spirit Lodge.

 

“We  weren’t going to have our powwow till May. But I thought why not change  the dates for October, because we have our new grade six leaders  receiving a blanket,” said Christina Fox, elder.

“When the grand entry  starts, I’m going to be so proud because I’m going to look around my  circle, and I’m going to be so proud of my circle. Today’s celebration  is about being together. This is one of life’s treasures, people  together.”

 

Receiving the Blackfoot name was an honour for the school.

 

“Giving  us this name means the world to us,” said Shannon Collier, principal of  St. Martha. “We are a family here at Children of St. Martha, our patron  saint is the Saint of Hospitality. Knowing that we are welcoming  community back to the school, this is a family gathering, a  celebration.”

 

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division was pleased to  have another one of its schools receive a Blackfoot name, noting the  honour it shows towards their Indigenous awareness and teaching.

 

“When  we look at our school division, one of our four board priorities is,  First Nations, Metis, and Inuit education for all.

Every opportunity to  embrace our cultural activities, language, customs and traditions to be  able to celebrate it is a wonderful thing,” said Ken Sampson,  superintendent. “Two years ago, Catholic Central received a Blackfoot  name. Last year, St. Francis received one as well. It really speaks to  that relationship that we have built with our First Nations communities  and the elders.”

 

Seeing a beautiful fall day for a time of  celebration, the dancers and drummers presented a beautiful powwow to  all in attendance.

 

“We  will have a special dancer that is going to dance at a special spot to  bless the Mother Earth and ask for permission to give the beautiful  building a Blackfoot traditional name,” said Fox. “Those are one of the  ways that we show everyone out there how compassionate First Nations  are. This is what we are all about, giving, prayers, acceptance, and  generosity.”

 Ryan Clarke is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter who works for the

LETHBRIDGE HERALD. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.

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