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Louis Gunn cutting the ribbon to officially open the new Marieval school block.
Chief Joe Williams speaking on behalf of the White Bear Broadview Chiefs. The gentlemen with the white sports coat is Henry Delorme, Marieval School Board Chairman.
About 300 people gathered around the outside of the beautiful modem wing of the Marieval School to take part in its official grand opening ceremonies.
The Crooked Lake Agency Powwow singers helped in the opening ceremonies by singing the flag song as the Maple Leaf was being slowly raised to commemorate that historical May 28, 1976.
Immediately after the flag raising, Mr. Freeman, who heads the portfolio on education for the Department of Indian Affairs, released the keys of the building to Henry Delorme, the Marieval School Board Chairman.
Jim Freeman stated, "On behalf of the IAB, I will now turn over the keys to Henry Delorme and the Chiefs of this valley who now in fact own the school."
Elderly Chief Joe Williams of Sakimay spoke on behalf of the five Chiefs from Whitebear, Cowessess, Sakimay, Ochopawace, and Sakimay to offer his congratulations to the hard work that finally paid off in having this dream building standing before them for the benefit of the educational purposes of their children's future.
He stated, "With these expanded facilities, it will no doubt be an advantage to our children and may the Lord bless this new building."
The ribbon-cutting ceremonies that was supposed to have been done by the original school boy Jim Lerat could not be in attendance. Mr. Lerat was supposed to have been the first school boy to have enrolled at Marieval back in 1898.
In place of Mr. Lerat, another long time student of Marieval, Louis Gunn, was glad to accept the great honour of the leather ribbon-cutting with a hunting knife.
Mr. Gunn stated he was only too glad to stand on behalf of Mr. Lerat who rarely misses an occasion of this type.
Immediately after the ribbon cutting, all the people assembled into the breath-taking beautifully designed gymnasium of the new wing.
The Reverend Father Nogue, OMI, a former Residence Administrator of the Marieval School asked for the Lord's blessing to the building, the teachers and the children who would be attending this new partition.
Mrs. Rose Ewack from Whitebear, who is still a very active member of the Marieval Advisory School Board, stood in for Dick Lerat who was the original chairman
of the School Board, gave a very moving speech on finally achieving the day that a building of this kind was finally finished.
All the people witnessed the reflection of relief on the fact of Mrs. Ewack, who spoke with compassion and greatfulness saying that when they first started their first school board back in 1971, they never thought it was possible to have a dream building like this. Mrs. Ewack is the only member of the original school board left that was formed by Dick Lerat who was the first Board Chairman. The present school board chairman is Henry Delorme of Cowesses.
The long-time school principal Edward Lang stated that he had waited a long time to have this building completed. Mr. Lang's impatience was very obvious as he often pitched in with a hammer and saw to help in the construction of the new portion of Marieval.
Mr. Lang received various acknowledgements and outstanding recognition after working for the Indian people as teacher and principal for the past 25 years. He said it was sure a big difference from the time he taught in a one-room school on Cowesses.
The 300 people showed their appreciation by giving Mr. Lang a thunderous round of applause and a standing ovation to a great human being.
Senator Norris who has been a fighter for the Indian cause in Ottawa carried a personal message of goodwill in the success of the Marieval School Board from the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The lady Senator from New Brunswick further congratulated the people involved saying that she will do everything in her power to continue to throw her support for the Indian people in this nation. She further stated that the Indian people will always have a corner in her heart after exchanging gifts and tokens with various Indian leaders. She also brought a lot of important messages and issues of Indian significance from the Parliament buildings of Ottawa.