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Check out the Awesome: Mount Sentinel Secondary

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Mount Sentinel Secondary School’s (MSSS) Aboriginal Education Program has been facilitating a number of initiatives this year. Some of the highlights include our Orange Shirt Day (OSD) assembly in September. One of our Grade 12 Indigenous students, Finn Yau, got up in front of the whole school and shared the survival story of a Residential school student that they received through the Legacy of Hope project. It was very powerful and deeply honored the spirit and intent of OSD.

A group of Gr. 12 students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, have chosen to participate in a moccasin making project for their final year to honor the long path they have had to walk to cross the graduation stage. This project has been generously supported by a district traditional knowledge keeper, Jesse Halton, and Cree Elder Debbie Bird. 

The grandmother drum that was created by Jesse Halton and students many years ago at Mount Sentinel has been getting so much love this year! Many of the classes have had opportunities to come learn about and experience the power of a community drum. We have also started a lunch time drum program for students who are interested in participating at school events.

Metis Cree Elder Donna Wright has been coming to the school once a month to support our cultural programming through drumming, sharing traditional teachings, as well as her personal story of what it was like growing up when and where she did as an Indigenous woman. The students adore the time that they get to spend with her. She always fills their hearts with love and acceptance of themselves and others to help them build the confidence they need in order to fulfill their visions for their futures. 

Lastly I will share that MSSS will be participating in the Moose Hide Campaign on May 16th. Students and staff have the opportunity to join in a fast and/or wear a Moose Hide pin to promote this important initiative. Moose Hide is a campaign designed to build awareness and reduce stigma around issues of gender based and family violence so that folks experiencing these issues will hopefully experience less shame and therefore be more willing to seek support. 

There are so many more beautiful stories of the community coming together to support the Aboriginal Education programming this year that I can’t possibly mention them all. It has been a great honor and privilege to hold and guide the program these past two years. 

Art by Shalailyn, grade 10 student

Submitted by Jenna Hopper, Aboriginal Academic Success Teacher