By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
Students, staff and special guests gathered at St. Mary’s Catholic school in Saskatoon June 8 for an outdoor Treaty 6 medal celebration, featuring drumming, song, art and student reflections and presentations about the history, meaning and importance of treaties.
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In his address to students, Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon described how when he was a bishop in the north, an Indigenous artist gave him a beaded cross, which he often wears alongside a crucifix made in a European style. Wearing the two together has become for him a sign of the “right relationship” of love, harmony and respect that God wants for all people.
Working toward the installation of a replica of the Treaty 6 medal has been a learning journey for the school, said St. Mary Principal Andrew Novecosky.
“When you enter our beautiful school, you enter a space that honours the history of the land and the relationships of all people,” he said, noting that a special place has been prepared for the plaque, featuring a mural painted by St. Mary’s students and staff under the direction of local artist Daniel O’Shea Sanderson.
During the unveiling and smudging of the Treaty 6 medal plaque, Bishop Mark Hagemoen and the school’s Elder, Kohkum Lucille Dorion offered prayers of blessing.
The plaque portrays a treaty commissioner grasping the hand of a First Nations leader. Between them is a hatchet, buried in the ground, signifying peace, and around the two figures are images of the sun and the land, symbolizing the eternal promise of the treaty relationship established to last “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.”