On December 13th 2018, our school had the honour of hosting the second annual Winter Solstice dinner, which is the celebration of the passing of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. For indigenous peoples, it has been a time to honour their ancient sun deity. They passed their knowledge down to successive generations through complex stories and ritual practices.
Once European settlers arrived, they brought new holiday traditions and their own celebrations to Turtle Island. Interestingly, all these different cultural celebrations shared, fall around the same time as the winter solstice.
During our dinner event, we had Elder Dan Thomas share his knowledge about Winter Solstice. In addition, we had Michael Esquash senior, speak to the audience about traditional dances and connection to the land. He and his family performed a traditional honour song while his son, WK student, Michael danced and a traditional grass dance. As well, the Ivan Fleet Memorial Dancers (sibling trio of Cieanna, Jacob and Micheal Settee) entertained the audience as they performed the traditional Red River Jig with a modern spin. Rounding up the entertainment, WK staff member Rob Wrigley and his twin sons, Aiden and Luke, known as ‘Double the Trouble’ fiddled for the Settee’s and then performed some songs on their own. All groups were very talented and added a wonderful vibe to the evening.
The feast itself was a fantastic stew and bannock; huge thanks to Elsie Bear’s kitchen for catering the event. Vered and I had the opportunity to be student emcees for the evening, which was exciting. The event was made possible with the work of a staff committee and the huge help of student volunteers from Mrs. Erickson’s Cultural Credit group, and Mrs. Harder’s Civic Leadership class who had a joy of a time volunteering and hosting this event with students and their families. We had such a great time learning some knowledge of this celebration and it was a night filled with good food, laughter and cheer; a perfect way to start making our way into the new year.
Chloe Laforte & Vered Lachtchev
Grade 10 students