By Lucie Roy
Morinville – A group of 48 Grades 4, 5 and 6 students from Camilla School spent all day on the road conducting flash mobs in the area. Armed with enthusiasm, high spirits, fiddles and guitars they performed four-minute flash mobs at the Morinville Public Elementary School, Sturgeon County offices, Tim Hortons in Morinville and late in the afternoon mobbed the Sturgeon School Division Board meeting. The brief visit was enough for the students to perform two numbers (Boil’em Cabbage Down and Planka) before dispersing.
Camilla School Vice Principal Leanne McMillan said the students started their flash mob early with their first stop at 9:15 a.m. at the Kipohtakaw Education Centre at Alexander First Nation. From there the students hit St. Albert Place, Metis Nation of Alberta, Hole’s Enjoy Centre, Poundmaker’s Lodge and Nechi Institute before coming to Morinville.
“This is the first year for fiddles and guitars,” said McMillan, adding the flash mobs were part of the school’s Heartbeat of Mother Earth project, now in its third year. The students opted for the fiddles and guitars last October when this segment started. By December they received all their equipment. They have been practicing once a week for the last few months with fiddle player and instructor Garry Lee.
McMillan said they are grateful for the funds that the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth (CCAY) provides and the flash mob performances was a form of thank you. With more funding McMillan hopes to expand the program to the Grade 7 class.
The Heartbeat of Mother Earth is a project in the Sturgeon School Division that has been made possible through the CCAY grant provided by the Metis Nation of Alberta and Canadian Heritage.
The Sturgeon School Division has successfully received funds through this grant to provide youth at Camilla and Gibbons School with cultural experiences that they would not normally be able to participate in.
“Youth in these classes have taken part in a variety of activities over the past few years, “ McMillan said, noting activities have include medicine wheel teaching, drum making, smudges, participating in round dances, eating bannock hot dogs, building teepees, beading and drum playing. Additionally, students have participated in the Aboriginal career fairs, attended the Louis Riel ceremony at the Legislature and visited the glass bead exhibit at the St. Albert Museum.
The Sturgeon School Division has developed partnerships with the Poundmaker’s Lodge, Nechi Institute, Kipohtakaw Education, and fiddle player Garry Lee, as well as a variety of people with expertise in beading, drum making, drum playing, smudging, stories and cooking.
Sturgeon School Division Sturgeon Heights trustee Wendy Miller and Chair Terry Jewell enjoy the music of the fiddle and guitar flash mob at their Board meeting Wednesday afternoon.