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Bert Fox Community High School

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As part of their reconciliation journey, the team, including Elders, Knowledge Carriers, families, and students, at the Fort Qu’Appelle’s Bert Fox Community High School are taking steps towards Indigenizing their school. Not only are they including Indigenous ceremonies, but switching to Indigenous ways of doing things.

A new room was created at the school for all students to learn about and to authentically engage in Indigenous practices.

“We engage in and support Indigenous practices, and ways of knowing in all areas of the school, but it is space that is still a western institution. The new culture room, iyiniwikamik Takoja Hockoka is an entirely Indigenous space,” said Julie Stiglitz, the Bert Fox principal.

At the request of Stiglitz, the board of education accepted and participated in an Indigenous Ceremony to name this new room, and didn’t use the usual procedure.

 “Elder Murray Ironchild conducted a ceremony to give the room a nêhiyawak name, iyiniwikamik, which means Indigenous Lodge.  Then, as part of the same ceremony, Elder Keith Ryder and Elder Greg Sandy conducted ceremony to give the room a Dakota name which is Takoja Hochoka, meaning grandchildren and the center.  Together, the name is iyiniwikamik Takoja Hockoka, which is translated as "Indigenous Lodge where Grandchildren are at the Center,” Stiglitz said.

The ceremonies were followed by a sweat at Standing Buffalo First Nation that was attended by the school community and representatives from the school board.

These steps are just part of the continued journey of Reconciliation the students and team at Bert Fox Community High School.

Read more about the opening:

Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask. high school opens Indigenous cultural, ceremony room (SaskToday)

Fort Qu'Appelle students get a new space to practice Indigenous ceremonies (CTV News)

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