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Wisdom: Celebrating on cultural grounds a new experience for students

Cultural land is an integral part of First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture. The students of St. Joseph Catholic school in Geraldton, were able to experience this on day that would become memorable.

GERALDTON -- Sharing and engaging in celebrations and traditional Indigenous activities on cultural grounds is the basis of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, traditions, customs, values and spirituality.

For Indigenous peoples, their connection to the land and the life-sustaining resources of the land is part of learning, knowing and being who they are as a People, and as a community.

The students of St. Joseph Catholic School in Geraldton, were given the unique and special opportunity to engage with members of the Thunderbird Friendship Centre and Elders, who helped to organize a variety of activities, for them to partake in.

The focus of the day was to celebrate the cultural grounds that symbol so much to First Nations people as part of the school’s Indigenous Peoples Day. Activities included a booth focused on traditional Indigenous cultural activities, and Bannock tacos. In addition, an Elder was there to share stories, and history with the group of students.

Each activity took place outdoors. Students were surrounded by nature, where they shared in traditional foods, and storytelling. The classes were taken to an area that represented an important part of Indigenous Peoples cultural grounds.

Land for Indigenous Peoples represents the life-sustaining richness and resources that are part of their customs, protocols, language and spirituality. It is an essential part to the overall well-being of Indigenous communities and individuals.

As the activities of that day unfolded, students, staff, members of the Thunderbird Friendship Centre, and Elders gathered together in a circle to hear the stories and experience first had the cultural richness of Indigenous tradition.

The significance and role that Elders play in the lives of Indigenous youth is extremely important; and the staff and students of St. Joseph’s Catholic School, were able to experience the cultural richness and key traditions that connect Indigenous people to the land.

Throughout history, in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, Elders are traditional teachers and play a very significant and respected role. They are held in high regard as the keepers of knowledge, who carry down traditional teachings. Elders pass these teachings to present and future generations, through oral story-telling, and through the teaching of customs and traditions. They symbolize and promote the values and beliefs, of First Nations, Metis and Inuit cultures.

When St. Joseph Catholic school welcomed the Thunderbird Friendship staff, and the Elders who visited and organized the special events as part of their Indigenous History Day, each student present gracefully witnessed and learned key values, and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples. They were able to sit on the cultural land that continues to represent who Indigenous peoples are.

It was a day filled with experiences and community that every participant will never forget.

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