Lindsey Thurber Comprehensive High School held a joint celebration to celebrate their last day of class, Canada 150, National Aboriginal Day and the school’s 70th anniversary.
To mark the occasion, the school welcomed The Powwow Times Dance Troupe, heard from students about the school’s new time capsule which will be opened in 50 years and learned about the history of LTCHS and Canada. The overriding theme of the celebration was diversity, which according to Principal Dan Lower happened completely organically.
“It is interesting to see because we didn’t script any of the kids and everything put into the ceremony today was totally randomly selected,” he said. “That is how our community feels. We are diverse and we are proud to be diverse.”
Winddancer Waskewitch of The Powwow Times Dance Troupe noticed a welcoming, inclusive environment at LTCHS, he said.
“Even walking into this school today you could feel a family vibe with all the students – everyone was really close,” he said. “You can have all the resources you want, but the teachers are really important role models and they have done really well with all these students. That is exactly how it should be and we really want to see more of that around the world.”
Waskewitch’s troupe presented many First Nations traditional dances including the Fancy Bustle Dance – which according to the presentation represents, “The celebration tribes would have after a successful battle or invasion”, and The Fancy Shawl Dance – which is, “A dance that imitates the butterfly and nature’s waves on the planet.”
Waskewitch said it is important for him and his troupe to share their culture.
“We are performing here today and celebrating National Aboriginal Day,” he said. “We are showing our culture and it is still alive today around Canada. It is really strong and it is nice to show people. It is 150 years of Canada, but we have also been here for over 150 years. We have gone through a lot to still be here and do what we always have done. To be able to do what we love with our ceremonies is a way to celebrate for us. They did try to take that us away from us at one point.”
Lower said it is important to recognize reconciliation at events like this and much of the afternoon was devoted to speaking of Canada’s history – both good and bad.
“We look at our history to celebrate things and also to find out where we made mistakes and not try to do that moving forward,” Lower said. “It is really important to embrace that.”
Waskewitch said that days like today makes him feel hopeful for Canada’s future.
“It is important for us to be here to show that we are one big family,” he said. “It is nice to see that things are changing and I can’t wait to see how it has changed in another 50 years.”
Lower noted a diverse group of young people will transition out of LTCHS this year.
“We have 400 graduates who are going to go on and be really good, contributing members of our society,” he said. “It is part of a movement forward.”