ESTEVAN - Sacred Heart School/École Sacrè Coeur continued its efforts to promote reconciliation by bringing Indigenous entertainment to the school on June 7.
The group Miyopimatsiwin, comprised of drummers, singers and dancers from Saskatchewan, performed for students, staff and members of the community during three separate shows.
Kindergarten instructor Michella Prokop said the concert and other events at the school were part of their reconcili-action project.
“This afternoon represents a step for all of us, forwards, in our reconcili-action journey,” she said.
The Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division provided some funding to each of its schools and asked them to promote reconciliation in some fashion. Sacred Heart decided to invite traditional Indigenous singers and dancers to the school.
Prokop noted that Sacred Heart is always implementing the Indigenous curriculum. They also have a display at the front of the school with orange ribbons.
“We had each of our students put one up in remembrance of students that we know who lost their lives while they were at the residential schools. We put that up as a shocking reminder of how many students had gone and how many lost their lives, and just had little class prayers as well,” said Prokop.
Since there aren’t a lot of Indigenous people in the Estevan area, students have limited opportunities to interact with First Nations people and witness their culture. The drumming, dancing and singing are an important part of the Indigenous peoples’ culture.
The members of Miyopimatsiwin sounded great, Prokop said.
Michelle Bellegard, who hails from the Little Black Bear First Nations a couple of hours north of Estevan, was the group organizer and presenter. She took the time to explain each of the dances and their significance. She said she was happy to be there to share who they were as Indigenous people.
“We are a very proud people, and so for us to come here today and share with you is a blessing to us as well,” she said.
Bellegarde noted she was here about 10 years ago to perform in Estevan. Her late father Mike Pinay was the co-ordination at that time.
Prokop pointed out an entire committee of staff members put the event together.
Miyopimatsiwin is a Cree word that translates to the good life in English.