Turtle Talk

By: Candida Shepherd

September 2021


Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year. My name is Candida Shepherd. Tawaw - you have been welcomed into the Bev Facey Turtle-Talk Sharing Circle. For the last four years, I have enjoyed working as the First Nations, Metis and Inuit lead teacher. As a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta here in Region 4, it is my pleasure to share my culture and share my journey as a knowledge-seeker.

It is my responsibility to provide a resource to our school as we expand and deepen our understanding of the diverse Aboriginal cultures in Canada and experience a sense of pride in their own cultural heritage. All people are invited into our circle – feel free to share your knowledge and ask questions.

Each month, I will share a collection of resources, learning moments and anything that I have found interesting… passing it on to you. Here we go….

Medicine Picking at Frog Lake First Nations

July 27th, 2021, I had the privilege joining Elder Fernie Marty once again to pick medicine. We spent the day at Frog Lake First Nation hosted by his son Ricky Marty, a spiritual Oskatpahos (helper). This year was extra special as I was joined by my 12- year-old daughter, Ella. I watched Ella engage her Elders. They took great care to pass on their knowledge to her - learning how to identify and pick sweet grass and sage. Giving thanks to our Creator and acknowledging these gifts with our thoughts and intentions. Ella loved braiding the sweet grass and picking the sage. I felt grateful as I watched her recognizing the deep, physical, mental, and spiritual connection to the land that is a part of her Metis culture. Through Ella, I am seeing and remembering both my mother and my grandma’s love and connection to the land. As an unexpected lesson, we spent time at the Frog Lake Massacre Historical Site. We received first hand teaching on how it began and the ending result. The Canadian Government called it a massacre; the Metis and First Nations call it a victory! I have been fascinated by the story of Chief Big Bear most of my life. Never have I heard it told this way! The insights derived from our oral history is alive and well.

If you ever get the chance to visit this site – you must do so with a community knowledge-keeper and hear the whole story.

Wouldn't it be nice do this as a school field trip?!!

Aboriginal Studies is BACK !!

Aboriginal Studies 10, 20 and 30 are BFH school-based courses offered as Independent Studies. Students receive material, guidance and even a quiet space through our Culture Room to complete each course. There are may reasons to take AB Studies: Personal interest and curiosity in the subject material, to gain the benefit of university entry requirements or simply to hang out in the Culture Room with me ;). Our semester one numbers are at 32 students and growing. Come check us out!

A Worthy Response from a Roman Catholic Priest

As part of the Metis community and active member of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church of the First Peoples, the scope of these unmarked graves across Canada has shaken my faith. I look at my own children and ‘can’t imagine’! I see and listen to the continuing trauma of my Indigenous community. This summer, our 2 priests have been listening, praying and …. Apologizing. Please take the time to listen to Fr. Mark’s sermon. It is only 18 minutes long.

A Worthy Response from a RC Priest

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2021

The Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in Council passed a resolution declaring Orange Shirt Day a first step in reconciliation, several provincial governments have proclaimed Orange Shirt Day. Then in March of 2019, the Government of Canada passed a bill designating September 30 National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Shayne Hommy created one of many designs for an orange shirt saying, “Orange Shirt Day means justice and awareness for indigenous people. They represent the unity of our people, (indigenous peoples) resilience and strength throughout the many years of suffering indigenous peoples had to face.”

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