It is not often that my blog themes are similar from one week to the next; however, in light of the past several days, I am drawn to write about a special relationship and a magical moment for our School this past week.
From Tuesday to Thursday, we welcomed our Moose Cree First Nation friends to St. Clement’s – with huge thanks to teacher Nora Scott, and many other fabulous staff and students, who coordinated this important visit. Our girls welcomed Grade 8 peers, and their time was filled with workshops and trips to the AGO, the Aquarium and the Eaton Centre. Our entire Middle School attended a singing and drumming workshop by the High Ridge Singers, a group of young adults who use music as a way to promote healthy, sober lifestyles, and to effect positive change.
On Thursday morning, students from our Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada course hosted an assembly for our guests. In attendance were many St. Clement’s Alumnae who had previously travelled to Moose Factory with the School. The assembly was a time for the School to thank our friends from Moose Cree First Nation and to articulate how much our partnership means to us. The High Ridge Singers drummed and sang during the assembly as well.
There is much to be learned, understood and appreciated between varied cultures but there are also many commonalities. Both of our communities wish and work for positive change with respect to indigenous rights, and there is a mutual respect that has been built slowly and carefully over the years. This was nowhere more evident than at the end of our assembly.
To close the presentation, our entire school, along with our guests, formed circles to round dance. The round dance was originally a healing ritual and has become a social dance. Dancers join hands in a large circle symbolically indicating the equality of all people in the circle. As we started to dance, I looked around our gym to see our students, young and old, staff, Moose Cree students, teachers, adults, and elders all inter-mingled and dancing to the High Ridge Singers’ music. We are always blessed when we can build friendships, seek to understand another’s culture, and, despite differences, see each other as equals.
It truly was a magical moment and one that I will always treasure.