First Nations children and Treaty 6 were the focus Thursday afternoon during Wolf Creek Public School’s Treaty 6 flag ceremony at the district office in Ponoka. The ceremony included dancing and the flag being raised, along with an acknowledgment of reconciliation. Photos by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Sometimes the raising of a flag means much more than just a simple ceremony.

That is the case with Wolf Creek Public School’s (WCPS) Treaty 6 flag raising, which marks a clear step towards reconciliation.

The treaty flag raising is the first of its kind held at WCPS and is intended to send a clear message to First Nations communities that the school district is doing its part.

The four chiefs from Maskwacis were invited to the ceremony, which included drum songs and dancing, and Montana First Nation Chief Leonard Standing On The Road said the flag raising is a good reminder of the past.

“We are all treaty people,” said Standing On The Road, adding that it’s a move that will benefit future generations.

When the chiefs first signed the treaties, their goal was to ensure safeguard First Nations people and their culture. “We’re only a small part of what’s to come in the future,” he offered.

Louis Bull Tribe Chief Irvin Bull was also in attendance offering his gratitude to be able to witness the flag raising. This type of acknowledgement has value to the Cree people on Treaty 6 territory.

Elder Josephine Small is a member of the FNMI Learning Supports at WCPS, and her hope is to bring more First Nations content into students’ learning. This type of learning is quite new in the world of Alberta’s, and Canada’s, education.

“I love it, said Small of her feelings on these new developments and the flag raising. “When I went to school here, First Nations children, you weren’t even looked at.”

She went off-reserve to Ponoka to receive her education and currently finds herself in the same position, but this time as an educator of the Cree culture. It’s a complete role reversal that she’s excited about.

Raising the Treaty 6 flag is a further role reversal.

And the First Nations students themselves are asking for Cree learning to be part of their education at WCPS. It’s an exciting time.

For others, raising the Treaty flag is something that’s been a long time coming.

“It’s about time,” said elder Effie Janvier, adding that she sees it as a positive experience.

“As human beings we’re all different colours,” added Janvier.

The Treaty 6 flag raising is done from a perspective of sincerity, added WCPS board chairperson Pam Hansen.

“It’s a step forward in actually recognizing what was signed in Treaty 6,” she explained. “And moving forward with reconciliation.”

Her hope is more school divisions not only offer treaty recognition, but also move forward. “I just think it’s important to build relationships in a meaningful way.”

Children were a big part of the ceremony with many in regalia during the drum songs. They demonstrated their Cree culture with that dancing.

Ryland Mendoza, 13, is a seventh generation family member to Chief Bobtail, who was part of the ceremony. For her, seeing the flag raising is about gaining understanding.

“I just want to show that people are on Treaty 6 land and we’re all together as one,” said Mendoza.

What she’s seeing as a First Nations student is more discussion and learning about Indian Residential Schools, but she feels more could be done. “They don’t really teach inside of residential schools.”

“They never really talk more about how First Nations kids were treated.”

Hansen said that while there have been no formal discussions related to formal Cree classes, that is the ultimate goal.

 

WCPS dignitaries along with Maskwacis chiefs, Montana First Nation Chief Leonard Standing On The Road and Louis Bull Tribe Chief Irvin Bull, were part of the Treaty 6 flag raising ceremony.

Chiefs’ eagle feathers make for a backdrop to the Treaty 6 flag, which stands aloft at the WCPS district office in Ponoka.

Just Posted

Local youth invited to check out ‘Peacebuilders’

Initiative aims to promote rights and dignity for all

Local municipalities launch 2A South Regional Transit

Communities of Innisfail, Penhold, and Springbrook now connected by transit thanks to pilot project

Getting your passport has been made easier

Government of Canada doubles number of locations where Canadians can get their passports

Police officer assaulted during traffic stop

Chasetin Morin of Red Deer faces several charges

Live nativity pageant takes place Dec. 18th to 20th

Outdoor pageant takes place in the evening at 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. at 8 Keast Way

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Most Read