ANCASTER — The very first “We Love Our Mother” Earth Day Gala took place last Friday evening at the Marquis Gardens in Ancaster, Ontario.
The long awaited event was held by the Everlasting Tree School as a way to fundraise for the very unique education system this school offers — the Waldorf Curriculum.
The Waldorf approach to educating at the Everlasting Tree School follows the concept of bringing spirituality and cultural connectedness to the earth back into the classroom and back into our entire being. Although every Waldorf School will have its own concept, the Everlasting Tree School passionately dedicates their time to connect the child to themselves, their culture as well as our Earth.
The evening started off with some good old fashioned humour from teacher Sean Thompson, who did an exceptional job of loosening up the crowd. He spoke about the importance of language and how crucial it is to have a cultural inspiration within our lives as Ohgwehowe people.
“I’m thankful for all of the people who have inspired me to get out there and take my language and culture back,” said Thompson, who made it clear he did not prepare a speech and went with whatever his heart told him to say.
As the evening went on, attendees were placing silent bids on everything from beautiful handmade traditional outfits to local artists artwork. There were entertainers including Theresa Bear Fox of Kontiwennahawi, Lacey Hill, Cheri and Sheila Maracle, as well as Karonhyawa:ke. Guests were treated to delicious bruschetta bread, pasta prima vera, herb and garlic chicken, medallions of beef au jus and roasted rosemary potatoes.
Amy Bomberry, a co-founder of the school, presented the formation of the school itself during the dinner and gave sincere gratitude to Six Nations Council as well as Scott Smith (Smith Industries) who contributed towards the roots of The Everlasting Tree School. Bomberry applauded and gave thanks to all of the founders, teachers, sponsors, parents and community members for all of the support and help that was needed to create this school into everything it is today.
Chandra Maracle, another co-founder of the school, gave an empowering speech about Haudenosaunee thought and philosophy, as well as the entire concept of the Waldorf Curriculum being used at the Everlasting Tree School.
She touched on several beautiful points, but one that really stuck out was, “If education can be used for fear, if education can be used to systematically assimilate, then education can be used to counter those things. We are bringing cultural renewal and healing back into our children and back into their education.”
Maracle believes that children are being taught three different capacities when they attend this school. They are; the capacity to take care of themselves; the capacity to take care of others and; the capacity to take care of our Mother.
The entire philosophy of this school has the power to completely change our children in the most beautiful and culturally philosophical way possible. During a presentation there was one slide that really made you stop and think:
“We are here to rekindle the fire within, to dust off the old patterns and renew them for the next generation. We are here to derive a deeper sense of self-worth and social cohesion from the roots of knowledge. We are here because we believe that our children deserve the opportunity to find a fulfilling life while grounded in their identity as a Rotinonhsonni person.”
To be able to have a concept within an educational institution that is working day in and day out to rebuild the spirits of our people and our community, is nothing short of historic!