High school students are on a year-long exploration of Blackfoot Culture. Students are experiencing oral stories, ways of knowing, traditional practices, Food preparation and sites through the Livingstone Range School Division’s Blackfoot Culture Series. More than 40 students from F.P. Walshe School (Fort Macled) and Matthew Halton High School (Pincher Creek) are enrolled in the program guided by Elders and knowledge keepers in conjunction with LRSD staff.
“Through the course, students gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Blackfoot culture,” says Joel Gamache, LRSD First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Leader and Place-Based Learning Supervisor. “The rich sharing and learning with elders and knowledge keepers are incredibly special.”
This fall, students visited two southern Alberta sites with great meaning to the Blackfoot people. In October, Elders Joe Eagle Tail Feathers and Alvin Many Chiefs shared the history of Fort Whoop-Up in the Lethbridge river valley as students spent time at this site of the last great battle between the Blackfoot and Cree nations. In November, students were given an in-depth tour of the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump with two indigenous knowledge keepers who shared stories of Blackfoot traditions and culture related to the site.
“We are grateful for our Elders’ commitment to this course and would also like to send a big thank-you to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump for their generous hospitality,” says Joel. “Collaboration like this is such a benefit to our students.”
A special thank you to Sherri Terpstra and Bonnie Whitford for their dedication to this project and our children. Having committed members who facilitate such thoughtful programming in our schools demonstrates true commitment to the LRSD vision of “Every student, every day.”
Blackfoot Culture Series students will participate in a traditional feast this month and continue site tours with traditional stories and learning in the new year. Working on a portfolio of learning during the course, students have the opportunity to earn high school credits toward graduation.