Norquay Feast revives community traditionNovember 29, 2022
Norquay School students, staff and the Point Douglas community recently celebrated an important Indigenous tradition: a seasonal feast.
The Nov. 23 event saw the school set the table for 423 people and offer a free meal to the community.
Families played an important role in the feast. Students brought their families to share in the meal, and staff also brought family members to help put on the large-scale supper.
“We want to honour the tradition of having a feast four times a year,” said Principal Cree Crowchild. “The majority of our students here are self-declared (as Indigenous), so it makes it that much more important that we follow some of our customs and traditions.”
Mr. Crowchild added that the event was an opportunity to share those traditions with the entire school community.
“This feast really does encompass all of the community members in our school. We’re slowly introducing Indigeneity to the community, so that people understand that the journey to Reconciliation is a slow path. It’s not a sprint, it’s definitely a marathon…and events like tonight bring us all closer together and send out that message of community.”
Over the last two years, the school kept community ties alive during the pandemic restrictions with food hampers and gift giveaways for families (including a series of bicycle giveaways) made possible through generous donations from the Christmas Cheer Board, Woodcock Cycleworks and other community partners.
Community partners for this year’s event included Lefarge Canada, the Walter Schroeder Foundation, and Terra Bay.
Norquay’s student-driven 21 Leaders were also an important part of the event, seating guests, running valet parking for strollers and helping with traditional elements.
21 Leader and student Rylee Favel had the responsibility of carrying the first plate of food, called a Spirit Plate, which is then in turn given to the Sacred Fire.
“It is custom to give a Spirit Plate to the Creator before we start a meal,” Mr. Crowchild said. Along with a healthy meal of spaghetti and meatballs, numerous salads and other foods, the school gave away over $2,000 in prizes to attendees as a way of saying thanks to the community. Prizes included food hampers, Indigenous literature, blankets, ribbon shirts and skirts and other items.
“The best part of about the community feast is having people’s eyes open up wide when we tell them there is no cost,” Mr. Crowchild said.
The Principal said there were plans to hold a similar feast in the spring.
For more photos, please see the gallery below: