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Seven Oaks School Division
Community Begins Here
Aug 15, 2022
No School Today
October 2017

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What does reconciliation look like at West St. Paul School?

How West St. Paul infuses Indigenous Perspectives into the school community.


The process of reconciliation takes on many forms in the work that we do as educators. By definition, reconciliation is the action of restoring friendly relationships, making beliefs compatible, or creating harmony. At West St. Paul School, we have worked together as a community toward reconciliation. Over the last three years, our staff has referred to the divisional Path continuum for Indigenous education, and we have worked to infuse Indigenous perspectives into our own classrooms, and our greater community.

At West St. Paul, reconciliation is: Powwow Club, classroom Treaties, Festival de West St. Paul, a partnership with Red Sucker Lake First Nation, Christmas shoeboxes, Hockey Day in West St. Paul, Seven Sacred Teachings House System, and Treaty Days at West St. Paul.

Powwow Club

Over the past two years, our Powwow club has doubled in size. With community and parent support, we have had the opportunity to create full regalia for each student dancing.

Last spring, we were featured at Manito-ahbee, and were the first school-based Powwow club to have this opportunity.

This September, we hosted our own school-wide Powwow in honour of Treaty Days, where our students danced alongside champion dancers.

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WSP6.jpgDelegates and Powwow Club facilitators at our school Powwow.









Our school Pow Wow dancers.


Sample of Parent Beadwork for thier child's moccasin.


Our favourite seamstress hard at work!

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Picture of Grand Entry at our School Pow Wow


Student YogaClassroom Treaties

Many teachers in our school create classroom treaties with their classes, as a management tool, and structure for their classroom community. This classroom treaty shown is an example of a grade four classroom. This treaty takes into account the directions of the medicine wheel. 

Classroom Treaty


Classroom Treaty

Students honouring
the treaty and taking a
moment to take care
of their bodies and minds
through yoga



Festival de West St. Paul
WSP13.jpgMetis and French culture is an important part of being a Manitoban. Through use of the French grant, and connections within our Metis community, our school celebrated our very own Festival de West St. Paul! On this day, students were mixed into groups across grade levels, and attended sessions around the school. Sessions ranged from French music and games, French cooking, Metis jigging, weaving a Metis sash, and Indigenous art opportunities.






 Children creating Indigenous art 


Children participating in a Metis fiddle workshop
Children participating in a Metis & French music
Sample Norval Morrisseau art 

Metis games

Weaving ‚Äč


Red Sucker Lake: Building a Northern Initiative

WSP24.jpgWest St. Paul is extremely fortunate to have teacher, Billie Cross on our team. Billie is extremely passionate and driven to build capacity within our school, and to build partnerships with Northern communities. This past year, Billie shared her dream of ‚ÄúMany Feathers Helping Hands‚ÄĚ with our school community. Through a partnership with Red Sucker Lake, our school sent over 300 Christmas gifts to Red Sucker Lake First Nation. Through a connection with Rebecca Chartrand, Billie Cross, Leanne Yeo, and Angela Bubnowicz were able to fly to Red Sucker Lake to deliver the gifts.

Fast facts: Red Sucker Lake is an Oji-Cree First Nation in Manitoba. It is located 706 km North of Winnipeg. It is fly in only. In winter, they have access to a winter road that takes 24 hours to travel on. Population: approximately 1000. Historically part of the Island Lake band, Red Sucker Lake was established in 1968.  


Christmas Shoeboxes

For the months of November and December of 2016, children from around the school, and community members brought donations into the school. Grade four, grade two and three, and grade seven students packed the boxes, wrapped the boxes, and organized donations. When one student was asked about the process, he said ‚Äúthe boxes are packed with love‚ÄĚ.

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West St. Paul donated 300 shoeboxes to Red Sucker Lake First Nation. This was enough for each child to get a gift for Christmas. This picture is of the grade two, three, four, and seven students who worked together to make this initiative possible.





Shipping to Red Sucker Lake was donated by Perimeter Aviation,

and goods were transported by Freightliner Manitoba.





The dream takes flight! (left to right) Rebecca Chartrand, Billie Cross, George Little (our connection to Red Sucker Lake, and the hockey convener), an architect from the city, Judy Klassen (interim Liberal leader for Manitoba), Leanne Yeo, and Angela Bubnowicz take off to deliver gifts in Red Sucker Lake!


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 The ladies were interviewed on Live (closed circuit) TV! This is how the word spread about the gifts from West St. Paul School. Gifts were distributed at the Red Sucker Lake TV station.

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The people of Red Sucker Lake were so grateful, and so hospitable to our team.

They gifted our team with artwork made by one of their councilors, and some beadwork.

Hockey Day in West St. Paul

WSP44.jpgIn February, as an extension of our Christmas initiative, our school hosted a hockey equipment drive for Red Sucker Lake First Nation’s hockey program. This event was in conjunction with our school UNESCO group.

Hockey Day in West St. Paul was a spin off of Hockey Night in Canada. This day was a full day of food, floor hockey, and family fun! Representatives from Red Sucker Lake’s hockey program, and members of their council were present at our Hockey Day in West St. Paul.

Teachers, Billie Cross and Alyssa Talbot were guests on the Wheeler in the Morning show, where they were interviewed about this day. This exposure garnered overwhelming community support, and welcomed more equipment donations.

We collected 9 pallets of used hockey equipment. Shipping for this equipment was donated by the Northwest Company, and went out via ice road.


Ceremonial puck drop between West St.Paul student and teacher representatives,
and Red Sucker Lake Hockey team representatives.
Our officials for the day,
Mr. Kevin Rempel and Mr. Richard Chin.
Red Sucker Lake presentation to West St. Paul School.‚Äč ‚Äč
Game Time!

Seven Sacred Teachings House System

Last spring, a group of teachers applied for release time to create a house system in our school. The intent of this house system was to infuse Indigenous perspectives throughout the school through the vehicle of the Seven Sacred Teachings.

The house system was rolled out last spring, and has since grown. The educational leave has grown from five, to eight teachers, and has streamlined school events.

The goal of the house system was to bridge the gap between younger and older students, as it is often challenging to do so in a K-8 setting. In addition, the house system allows opportunities for mentorship, and staff to work alongside colleagues and students they often do not have the opportunity to see.

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Students create banners on the left. On the right, an older student assists another student in a Canada 150 writing project about what Truth means to him.

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Students work on banners for their house group and Leanne Yeo is getting students excited to be a part of the Eagle house at our assembly!

Treaty Days

From September 25, until September 29, 2017, our school hosted our first Treaty Days celebration. The celebration was a week long and celebrated many aspects of Indigenous culture through storytelling, music, the arts, and a Powwow.

The following chart outlines the breakdown of Treaty Days activities at West St. Paul School.

‚ÄčMonday September 25, 2017‚Äč12:15-2:00‚ÄčPow Wow
‚ÄčTuesday September 26, 2017‚ÄčAll day 8:00-2:30 in half hour blocks‚ÄčStardome
Legends and storytelling about constellations and stars from an Indigenous perspective.
‚Äč‚ÄčTuesday September 26, 2017‚ÄčAll day 9:00-10:00, 10:15-11:15, 1:00-2:00‚ÄčArt ‚Äďmandalas
Artist in residence, Lita Fontaine will guide students through pointillism art mandala making. She will infuse the Seven Sacred Teachings into this activity.
‚Äč‚ÄčTuesday September 26, 2017‚ÄčAll day‚ÄčArt ‚Äď mural
Patrick Ross will guide grade 8 students through mural artwork teaching graffiti, street style art.
‚Äč‚ÄčTuesday September 26, 2017‚Äč‚ÄčAll day 8:00-2:30 in half hour blocks‚ÄčStorytelling
Joe McLellan shares his Indigenous perspective and knowledge through storytelling.
‚ÄčWednesday September 27, 2017‚ÄčAll day‚ÄčStardome
Legends and storytelling about constellations and stars from an Indigenous perspective.
‚Äč‚ÄčWednesday September 27, 2017‚Äč‚ÄčAll day 9:00-10:00, 10:15-11:15, 1:00-2:00‚ÄčArt‚ÄĒMandalas
Artist in residence, Lita Fontaine will guide students through pointillism art mandala making. She will infuse the Seven Sacred Teachings into this activity.
‚Äč‚ÄčWednesday September 27, 2017‚Äč‚ÄčAll day 8:00-2:30 in half hour blocks‚ÄčStorytelling
Tipi Joe shares his Indigenous perspective and knowledge through storytelling.
‚ÄčThursday September 28, 2017‚Äč8:00-9:35‚ÄčTerry Fox Walk and assembly. Guest speaker Kevin Chief to kick off the walk.
‚ÄčFriday September 29, 2017‚Äč10:30-11:20‚ÄčKevin Chief to talk about Residential Schools Survivors day, and Metis culture in Manitoba. Ray St. Germain performance to whole school community.


Treaty Days Pow Wow Celebration


Drum group: Brown Bear
Drum group: Spirit Sands Singers
Grand Entry
West St. Paul jingle dress dancers in full regalia


Mural Making with artist, Patrick Ross

The grade eight students worked alongside Patrick Ross to create two beautiful murals. The murals depicted the Seven Sacred Teachings. Outlined in the photos below is the process. 

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Making Mandalas with artist in residence, Lita Fontaine

Children in grades three through five had the opportunity to create mandalas with Lita Fontaine. During this process, Lita spoke to the students about being mindful and meditative during their process. Students used barbecue skewers to create mandala patterns with dots on a black circle.

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Lita uses a grade four class medicine wheel to talk about balance. On the right, Lita has students focused on the creating process.


Stardome: Mobile Planetarium

Students of all ages were invited to look at the stars and learn about Indigenous legends and constellations, run by facilitator, Darren Townsley. Students enjoyed the opportunity to make connections to stories they knew, and to learn more about the stars in the sky.


 Storyteller Joe McLellan

WSP68.jpgOn September 26, 2017, as part of West St. Paul Treaty Days, Early Years students were given the opportunity to participate in and learn about Indigenous story telling from Joe McLellan, Story Teller and Author. The Grade 2 students in Miss Schur’s, Mrs. Walker’s and Miss Yeo’s classes, as well as the Kindergarten students in Mrs. Campbell’s class listened with fascination, appreciation and enjoyment to Joe McLellan while he used his drum and puppets to tell us his stories of Nanabosho and the Cranberries and Nanabosho: How the turtle Got His Shell. Some students were so inspired by these stories that they later borrowed them and others stories that Joe McLellan wrote to take home from the school library.


Seven Oaks School Division Blanket Activity

Grade 7 students had the privilege of participating in the Blanket Exercise as part of our Treaty Day celebrations. The class was then asked to reflect on the experience by writing down ten things they learned. The following are excerpts taken from some of the students.

  • Today we participated in the blanket exercise. A simulated exercise that taught us the disturbing truth of how the natives flowing numbers quickly declined. How their culture and way of life was stripped away from them and how their children and them were forced to learn our ways. Yet, how they manage to pull through, to live on even after all this took place. I learned a lot, and now have a new view of things on this topic.   ~ Alyssa
  • The blanket exercise is a re-enactment of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people when they came to Canada. Everyone is to get involved as they step onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit, Metis peoples, etc. We had to get in the roles of trading, leaving for residential schools and trying to get the emotion of what it felt like to lose our families and homes.   ~ Sophia
  • One thing I learned was that Canada used to be this huge country filled with good people, living freely and living happily, where you can enjoy life but shortly after that lifestyle changed‚Ķ It is better than it was when that was all happening but it is not how it was when our land was ours‚Ķ I am glad to be standing on land that people have died for. I honor my land and people.   ~Peyton


Tipi Teachings by Tipi Joe


We as educators enjoyed having the grade 8 and the grade 2 students together to learn from Tipi Joe. The students gained insight about the direction of the tipi set up, the significance of the number of poles, pegs and pins and the lessons that are gained throughout life.

When approaching the tipi, we enter from oldest to youngest in a clockwise motion. Inside the tipi, Joe explained how people are arranged from youngest to oldest by referencing the murals. We thought it was appropriate that the younger generation was closer to the older generation to learn from the elder’s experience.

One of the most simple, yet profound lessons that we took with us was to cherish each day and make each moment count. Joe stressed that people should not dwell on the past for it can’t be changed and to not become anxious about the future because it has not arrived. Live happy today!

Room 6 and Room 47

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Terry Fox Walk

Students at West St. Paul school were inspired by Kevin Chief as he connected Terry’s cause to the teaching of humility. After our full school gathering in the gym, students walked together as a community around our school track.

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Teachers Jeff Zylstra and Jamie Gilbart enjoying the walk, while student on the right are running laps.

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Students and teachers Stacey Los and Kim Greening , and Lorie Rempel walk together, and older students take care of younger students.


Orange Shirt Day, featuring special guest, Ray St. Germain

The last day of Treaty Days was orange shirt day, in honour of Residential Schools Survivors. Our school community was encouraged to wear orange in honour of those who attended Residential Schools. At this assembly, students and teachers gathered to honour survivors, enjoy Ray St. Germain’s music, and share what they did all week.

Kevin Chief introducing Ray St. Germain, and telling students about the significance of orange shirt day.
Music specialist, Lianne Fournier shares a teaching about the drum that she created with other music specialists across the division.
Ray St. Germain sure knows how to entertain a crowd!

Our work here at West St. Paul is just beginning, and it is so exciting. We are enjoying the challenges and triumphs of our journey toward reconciliation.