Survival School's graduation

Written on Wednesday, June 18th 2014 by Carolina -

Today I rushed back to Kahanwake to meet Ross and bring all my work to the gallery; time to set up the exhibition. At noon, we had an interview at the local radio station.  It was great - we had a chance to explain, to the community, what this project is all about. Ross said,  "It has grown its own legs," and I agreed. This is a journey, no clear destination. All I know is that I want to bridge immigrants and First Nations, to get to know each other. 

As I finished the interview, someone called. The radio's secretary passed me the phone. It was Wilma's sister inviting me to the Survival School's graduation. She said there would be many dresses and I should go. Interestingly, my own daughter's graduation was this week, and tonight is her party.  I kind of find it strange to have six graders graduating, never-mind having a party. I rushed there. It was beyond words.

The school is built on a large area filled with mature trees. The entire ceremony was outdoors.  Families were there, so many of them, for such a small class. I could not help myself to compare my own daughter's crowd.  Her graduation had so few relatives in comparison to the number of kids. Not in Kahnawake, the family attending was way larger than anything I have seen, it was a big day.  The students' dresses were incredible. Their gear, feathers, beads, colors, all different, all filled with pride. The setting was idyllic, a beautiful sunny day. Sun rays were trickling through the trees, and I could not stop smiling.  Those kids were so present, so involved, so proud.  The students got to award one teacher, what a concept!  The speeches the awards, all so similar, yet so different.  I heard "don't forget your roots" and who they are as a people.  They all knew, who that people was.  I guess that is what it feels like to be part of a community.  It felt nice.