Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell visited Rockland District High School Thursday, May 30, for a special event that celebrated
Indigenous culture and the value of reconciliation.

Dowdeswell addressed the school population during an assembly that saw Indigenous dancers, a First Nations rendition of O Canada and gifts to the Lieutenant Governor from First Nations representatives. Performances were by Ojibway Cree dancer Randy Kakegamick who did the grass dance and Southern Tutchone dancer Marissa Mills who did the jingle dance. Métis Knowledge Keeper Candace Lloyd presented Dowdeswell with a traditional Métis sash, while Algonquin Danka Brewer gifted her with a bottle of maple syrup.

Student displays on First Nations culture as the culmination of the RDHS Indigenous Pilot Project were also in the spotlight. The one-month project involved Grades 9-12 students, studying various aspects of First Nations culture in courses such as history, art and Indigenous English. Displays celebrated Indigenous war heroes, First Nations inventions such as the canoe, different types of Indigenous-inspired art, and provided information on traditional Indigenous medicines.

During her address, the Lieutenant Governor spoke about the value of reconciliation, indicating reaching out to reconcile with our Indigenous neighbours speaks to our wider values as a society.

“Reconciliation is not just about the relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples,” she said. “Reconciliation and democracy are all about how we are going to live together in this community and on the planet.”

The event also included performances by the RCMP Pipes and Drums and their Highland dancers, and a presentation of a 30-year service pin from Board Chair John McAllister to RDHS Principal Jeff Campbell.