The Pathway Home, to Secwepemcúlecw

Posted On Friday June 14, 2019

The drums echoed through the arena, Aboriginal voices rose in song. The crowd of parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles cheered as the procession of 130 Aboriginal students led by the drummers, grass dancers and Metis jiggers made their way forward. It was loud.

They came in gowns, Stetsons, ribbon shirts or dresses, little black dresses, and shiny white tuxedos. They wore headdresses, beaded mortar boards, feathers, ball caps, tiaras and cedar bark hats.  They were proud. See photo gallery.

The region’s 30th annual celebration of Aboriginal graduation was held June 10 at McArthur Island Arena.  For Trustee Diane Jules, the evening was a significant milestone. She was one of the four Aboriginal students at that original Aboriginal grad celebration hosted by the Aboriginal Friendship Society in 1989.

On this night, the graduates represented each of the regions’ schools and all its First Nations, including St. Anne’s Academy, and Skeetchestn Community School, with two students, its first graduates in five years. 

Inspired by the valedictorians’ address at Simpcw community’s recent graduation ceremony, Superintendent Alison Sidow spoke about the importance of having a vision for the future.

“My vision,” she said, “Is for each of you to build a strong future for yourself and your community by living your purpose now. Each thought, word and deed should align with your vision for yourself and in doing so you will walk strongly now and into the future.”

Masters of Ceremonies were Janessa Toye from NorKam Secondary, and Kila Pigeon from Sa-Hali Secondary, while Liam Christy, from Westsyde Secondary and Mackenzie Gottfriedson, from Valleyview Secondary each gave inspirational valedictorian addresses.

Representatives from the Aboriginal Friendship Society, Thompson Rivers University, the Quaaout Lodge and the Little Shuswap Lake Band were among the organizations attending, to hand out 28 scholarships and bursaries to students.

Trustee Jules, Chair for the Aboriginal Education Council, also wished the students well in their future with a reminder, “As you set off on this next stage of your journey, remember the pathway home, to Secwepemcúlecw.”





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