by Kerrie Shearer, School Counsellor
Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, Sacred Heart High School in Yorkton began offering their Indigenous Cultural Club, creating a safe space where Indigenous students can express a pride for their culture and offer the opportunity to share this culture with their school community. The club meetsonce a week during lunch hour and is a flexible space for students to participate in the activities that interest them. An Elder is present at all meetings to share stories and answer any questions the participants have.The activities include beading, ribbon skirt making, ribbon shirt making, story telling, harvesting sage, sweetgrass, smudging and learning about medicine from the land.
One school wide initiative was held by the club for National Indigenous People’s Day, when the club “fed the entire student body bannock and hamburger soup. The club members learned how to make bannock a couple of days before and then made the meal for students and staff. Many students and staff showed their appreciation and their praise for the meal that was prepared for them. The students were so proud of their work.”
The club’s reach extends outside of the school as well. In the spring of 2022, the youth drummers from the club participated in a local Powwow. Shearer shares how this was a positive experience this was for the students, despite their initial nerves –they stayed for several hours, drumming for multiple songs!
“OurIndigenous students are proud of the projects they are doing and then sharing their culture with club participants.” The club has grown since it was first established in 2019, now an intercultural group with many new Canadian students joining. “Our Elder leads the conversation by asking questions of all students present at our table of their own cultures and the conversation has become one of acceptance and genuine cultural exchange and understanding.”