A smudge followed by a Pipe Ceremony as the Holy Rosary High School community teamed up with Synergy Credit Union in the forthcoming school expansion.

The developments come as the local financer is pitching in for the addition of an Indigenous Centre to support cultural activities in the school’s new wing.

Mike Young, the Junior Elder Cultural Advisor was out early Wednesday morning with the students in minus-20 weather as they erected a tipi for the ceremony on the site of the school expansion. He says the developments mean a lot to him and his family.

“I’ve been working with my wife here, at the school, ever since she started 18 years ago. And that was one of our missions to bring some education to the school system, especially the Catholic school system. And they have come this far in 18 years that now we are building a centre for our Indigenous population.”

Junior Elder Young says the centre will provide a space for cultural awareness, practices and ongoing learning for numerous activities like Aboriginal Week.

CEO Glenn Stang at Synergy Credit Union says their team continues to deepen their learning about diversity, inclusion and equity and welcome the opportunities for community engagement fostering reconciliation.

“We’re just so pleased to work with both school divisions and all kinds of organizations in our community to continue to make our community grow and prosper together. These are great events.”

Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young representing the Saskatchewan Education Minister noted the importance of the Dreamcatcher Ground-breaking Ceremony, as well as working in partnership in the context of reconciliation going forward.

“It is something that has never been done in the past and I think it is a good step on the path of truth and reconciliation to acknowledge that there is a lot of people and a lot of partners involved in moving us forward as a society in a very peaceful, loving and caring way.”

Several students in various grades at Holy Rosary High School took part in the Pipe Ceremony as the school performed the ground-breaking.

Director of Education Nigel McCarthy shared on some of uses of the new cultural space in the school expansion.

“Indigenous culture. Teachings, language and also with the capacity to conduct ceremonies. So our Cree classes will be occurring in this purpose built facility. Any ceremonies we host, we will be able to do so inside the building, including Pipe ceremonies or smudging. And we have a home for the cultural artifacts and the preparations that we do to understand and to share the strengths of our Indigenous students and our Indigenous culture.”

Shovels hit the ground for the 10 million dollar build back in June. The completion of the new school wing is expected in 2023.