The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Foundation initiated a project to enrich education at its St. Michael Community School.
The goal was to create an engaging outdoor learning area, incorporating Indigenous practices, culture and art into the school’s environment.
The goal was to allow students to engage in culturally significant agricultural practices, potentially igniting their interest in careers in agriculture. In addition, it was an opportunity to offer the community an avenue to food sovereignty by providing an accessible space for cultivating and harvesting fresh, nutritious produce.
Funding support from the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF) empowered the transformation of a playground at the school into a space that today offers students culturally relevant, hands-on agricultural education. The front area of the school also received a facelift, with landscaping and the installation of Métis-themed artwork.
St. Michael Community School also runs “petite michif opikiskkwewak” (spirited little Michif speaker). This bilingual program will significantly benefit from this project as students can use and learn Michif words and phrases while studying Indigenous plants and cultural practices. Their newly acquired knowledge will be used ceremonies and gatherings and enrich the students’ cultural experience as they learn how to plant, care for and harvest the medicines and food.
Community Elders have been deeply involved from the outset as the Four Kokums (Grandmothers) who chose the name “St. Michael Community School Land-Based Learning Environment” continue to offer insights into the types and placement of medicines and other project elements.
This project has the potential to unify the community, aid in healing and foster pride while rejuvenating and enriching Métis culture and the Michif language.
The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit organization attached to Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Saskatchewan’s largest Catholic School Division.
St. Michael Community School, established in 1951, is renowned as a Métis School of Excellence. The focus on Métis perspectives and the Michif language is evident in their innovative St. Michael School Métis Education Model. It weaves Métis teachings and culture throughout the curriculum, enriching students’ educational journeys.
Diocese of Saskatoon – Granting Committee