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Children of the Earth School's 30th Anniversary Celebrations: A Grand Celebration of Resistance and Resurgence

April 30, 2024
David Blacksmith and Cheryl Blacksmith, along with other Indigenous Circle of Leaders like Elder Mary Courchene, Chickadee Richard and Kathy Mallet reflected on foundation days of the school.

Children of the Earth School's 30th Anniversary milestone celebrations on April 25th showcased the community’s dedication and collective effort to reclaim education.

Children of the Earth welcomed honoured guests, drummers, student dancers, the Circle of Indigenous Leaders, WSD Trustees, and families to join the festivities and share their thoughts and memories. The organizing committee, students, and staff worked hard to plan and host a memorable event showcasing the school's history and achievements.

Children of the Earth School is the first Indigenous high school established through the advocacy of grassroots organizations such as the Thunder Eagle Society, Urban Indigenous Educational Advisory, and associated parent groups. What sets it apart is its unique approach to providing Indigenous youth with a culturally relevant and academically-rigorous education, which includes Indigenous language programs like Ojibwe and Cree, a medical career exploration program, a unique Indigenous art program, vocational training and more. 

“During this morning’s pipe ceremony, one of the wise women sitting in a circle mentioned that it was a lot of work from a lot of people to put all of this together. She may have been talking about this day of celebration, but I think she was also talking about the work that went into bringing our school into being,” said Jenifer Donachuk, Principal of Children of the Earth High School. 

“The way forward, towards mino-pimatisiwin, has always been through our work together. When we work together, we can do anything.”


As the school looked back on 30 years of excellence in Indigenous education, they also celebrated the profound impact of the students, teachers, and parents who have contributed to the success of Children of the Earth School. The anniversary celebrations were a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving and honouring Indigenous languages, cultures, and traditions in the education system. 

Children of the Earth school students regularly take part in smudging, medicine harvesting, pipe ceremonies, sweats, and feasts and receive traditional teachings from our school knowledge keepers and community elders.

All students enrol in Cree or Ojibwe language classes for Grades 9-12. Reclaiming language is essential to reclaim identity as Indigenous people and the teachers emphasize this importance to the students. 

David Blacksmith and Cheryl Blacksmith, along with other Indigenous Circle of Leaders like Elder Mary Courchene, Chickadee Richard and Kathy Mallet, had initiated the idea of having an Indigenous school where students could learn about who they are through land, language, community, and culture. 

Today, the school continues to lift up learners so that they can become leaders in their communities, inspiring a new generation of Indigenous excellence.

"On this momentous occasion, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the trailblazers and organizations who have supported Children of the Earth School's mission over the past three decades," said Matt Henderson, WSD Superintendent. 

“On behalf of WSD, I apologize for any barriers that were placed in the development of this amazing school,” offered Henderson.


Looking ahead, WSD remains committed to our mission of removing barriers for Indigenous youth to achieve their full potential and positively impact their communities. Thank you and Miigwetch to everyone who has been a part of this incredible journey!

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