At. St. Clement’s we have been blessed with wonderful opportunities to connect and build relationships with First Nations peoples over the last eight years. As a result, our girls and staff are aware of and passionate about our role in supporting and ensuring change for the better.
This past Friday, students from Ms Westerhof’s English class and Dr. Mizener’s Geography class were fortunate to hear from Adrian Sutherland, CEO of Attiwapiskat Enterprises and lead singer of Midnight Shine. When asked about what could be done to support the struggles of peoples from the Attiwapiskat First Nation, Sutherland responded by suggesting that the issues must be dealt with inside their community first rather than outside. He believes, too, that while there are “dark things going on, it is important to shine attention on the good things as well.”
Beyond the wonderful opportunity to hear from Mr. Sutherland, our girls have powerful access to learning and understanding as a result of a mutually respectful and supportive relationship with the Moose Cree First Nations in Moose Factory. Many of our students, staff, and alumnae have visited Moose Factory to stay and learn amongst the members of the Moose Cree. We are thrilled to be welcoming many members of the community to SCS this week. Inevitably, each time we connect we come away with a better understanding of Moose Cree culture and teachings, and, even more importantly, of our responsibility as Canadian citizens to effect change. As Elders of the Moose Cree have said, our girls have the great good fortune of an exceptional education. Accordingly, they have the opportunity to become policy makers and change agents to ensure that all Canadians- including our First Nations- have equal access to resources and support, and are afforded the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Whether work to effect change happens inside or outside our First Nations communities, it is vitally important that we work alongside each other.
As Chief Robert Joseph, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, wrote, “I am driven by the word namwayuut: we are one with others. We are part of Creation and called to honour our interconnectedness that calls for peace, balance and harmony. To do this is to love everybody and everything.”