Bala Community School celebrated Aboriginal Day by having a Powwow led by Shannon Thunderbird, who has been their Elder-in-Residence for the past three years. A procession was led by mounted police, several native elders, Legion flag bearers and the staff and students of the school. Shannon Thunderbird led the students in repeating Bala’s Declaration of Peace where the students stated that “bullying, cyber bullying, racism and jealousy have no part in our school”.
The school choir, Bodalicious Bala Choir, sang songs based on native values which they had composed with the resident elders. Randy Rivers, an Ojibwa native, performed a men’s traditional dance. Erin Dickson, a Coast Tsimshian native, performed a dance telling the story of a butterfly and there was a dramatic representation of why the wolf has human eyes acted by native elders. Following a smudging ceremony, the politicians from all three levels of government spoke briefly and the audience was encouraged to buy native food and crafts and to socialize in the sunny school yard. Many of the children petted the police horses, one of which is called Tecumseh after the great aboriginal chief and always comes especially to aboriginal events. Many of the students wore their own traditional dress including those of aboriginal heritage. It was another great example of the richness of our community in Mount Dennis.