We are a leadership team at Bert Fox Community High School promoting and facilitating Truth and Reconciliation. We were given our name by Kete-ayah (Elder) Alma Poitras. Using Indigenous ways of knowing, place based education, experiential learning, strength-based philosophies, and workshop facilitation the students earn grade eleven and twelve credits; many students are also able to complete their grade twelve diploma within the year.
oski-pimohtahtamwak otayisīniwiwaw (Nehiyawak) oski pima ci-owat ici ki-kay-dam-o-win-ing (Nakawē) wana oicimani tecawosdodyē uncumpi (Dakota) they are into their new journey to knowledge (English)
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
The poem that was made from my heart and that will bring a tear to your eye because it’s the truth
by Michael Starr-Desnomie
When I was going to class to see what my teacher had planned
I was walking to the junior computer lab. Mrs. Koops introduced me to a teacher
who I had never met before in the school. Her name was Ms. Thomson (without a
p). She looked new, but everyone is welcomed to Bert Fox.
I shook her hand and smiled, talked about our class and how
I’m showing leadership, but mostly Mrs. Koops was saying great stuff about me
that made me happy to hear. My teacher brought up my poem that I made on Orange
Shirt Day and how it went when I was reading my poem. I choked up but stood my
ground and Mrs. Koops tried to come take over for me, but it was my poem and I
was going to read it all because it had my name on top so I said to my teacher,
I’m reading all of it, but when I teared up at some points, she tried to come
take over, but I just needed a second to try calm down and breath then I
finished reading it all.
Before Ms. Thomson read my poem she asked me what my poem was
called. I said, “Doing the Blanket Exercise on the Land Where All My People Lived.”
When she was done reading it I looked at her and I could see her in tears,
seeing tears that were rolling down her face. She said it’s beautiful and so
true. I told her I didn’t use my mind, I wrote that from heart. She told me you
do have a big heart. She was still tearing up so I hugged her, rubbed her back
and comforted her, then after I was done hugging her she held my hand and told
me, you are so gifted and explained to me that her mom went through the same
thing, she went through residential schools but her mom never talks about it.
I kept on seeing tears rolling down her face. I wanted to
give her a hug to make her feel much better. She said the nicest things to me
that I will never forget. I will use those kind words that she said to me in my
future and as a leader. I explained to her how I felt and what I thought about
when I first did the blanket exercise. I explained to her that we all should be
treated equally; we are all the same. It doesn’t matter about your color or
what tribe you’re from, even how your culture is, we are all the same on the
inside. We all bleed the same color, have the same feelings, we are all the
same but we live differently. I give every single person Much Love &
Respect. We are all family in my eyes. I’m always here for my family when they’re
down so I can help them back up on their feet.
I told Ms. Thomson what my mom always said to me, become a
leader not a follower or my little saying, throw me to the wolves and I will
return the pack leader. It was amazing hearing all of my teachers say wonderful
things about me, always making me smile and happy about myself, making me stay
positive. When we were talking about what they think about my poem and I told Ms.
Thomson that I went to the Saskatchewan School Board Association to read my
poem that went viral across the world that I’m very proud of.
Miss Bev, Michael, Mrs. Koops and Ms. Thomson
One of my favorite teachers came by, Miss Bev. I gave her a
hug as well. She’s the teacher that always gave me fudge when I went to all of
my classes, and if I was good, but sometimes she forgot to make some for me,
when I kept on going to class and being good, but I said to her I think I’m too
sweet already, then Miss Bev smiled and gave me a hug and told me I am sweet. All
of those teachers that I was talking to – Ms. Thomson, Miss Bev, Mrs. Koops -- made
my day and I just felt great all day, well I always do. All of the teachers in
Bert Fox are very proud of me and they supported me all the way. With their
support they made me who I am and my mom as well, always believed in me and
always there for me, to pick me back up, that’s what mother bears do, keep
their cubs safe and believe in what they can become, a big strong leader. I’m
very proud of myself on becoming a great leader, a voice for my people.