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Bannock ... tea ... elders ... people meeting ... talking . . . smiling ... students ... teachers ... community. ...This was the scene at the grand opening of the heritage room at the Nutana Collegiate in Saskatoon, March 2.
Although a small institution housing about 350 students, it has proven to a leader in assessing and effecting change to suit student needs. The heritage room was initiated by the staff at the collegiate to encourage and provide models for the native students to continue their education and to help them recognize their heritage, understand their problems and to provide an opportunity for them to see themselves as part of a total group. The school has a number of modified classes which led the staff to the idea of a resource room and put it to the school board. The board's decision was favorable and Dr. R. G. Fast, director of education saw the vision of the heritage room. Hopefully, another heritage room will be established at the Bedford Road Collegiate next fall.
The afternoon activities began with assembly in the school gym with greetings from, Dr. Fast and School Board Chairman, Dr.J.G. Egnatoff, following a performance by hoop dancer Bill Brittain of the Cultural College. Keynote speaker, Smith Atimoyoo was unable to attend, Collette Eagle spoke on behalf of the school's Native Student's Club.
Special guests included Chief Elizabeth Royal and elder Archie Eagle, both of the White Cap Sioux Indian Reserve (Moose Woods) located about 18 miles south of the city.
Following assembly was a tour of the school's Memorial Art Gallery, which contains about 100 pictures and dates back to the First World War. It was initiated in memory of former students who gave their lives for their country in the allied cause and has grown steadily since. There was also an admirable display of an extensive collection of library material pertaining to the American Indian.
Dan Delorme, who teaches Native studies and math and is also involved in all facets of the school sports at Nutana is enthusiastic about his job and the future of the new Native Heritage Classroom and its implications.