OHSWEKEN — Everlasting Tree School will soon be hosting its largest fundraising event yet this year and is inviting people to attend its Earth Day Gala — a black tie event to celebrate our mother, our language, our children and our culture.
Amy Bomberry, co-founder of Everlasting Tree School, said that the school runs entirely on grants, money from fundraising events and donations, so funds from the gala will go directly towards continuing the encouraging work the school is doing.
“We think what we’re doing at the school is really important for our children to keep experiencing,” she said. “Not only because of the language immersion, but because of all the hands on culture related things we do with them too.”
The school was founded in 2010 by a group of parents and teachers seeking a holistic experience in education grounded in Kanyen’keha (Mohawk Language), Rotinonhsonni (People of the Longhouse) culture and the principles of Waldorf Education, which inspires life-long learning using the head, heart and hands. The school provides a safe, nurturing place to experience the wonders of nature and the beauty of expression that comes from thinking, speaking and interacting in Mohawk. Most of the students are acquiring their heritage language as a second language.
“We know there are people on the reserve and off of the reserve who want to help us and see our school continue to do well,” said Bomberry. “This gala is being held off reserve and will give those that don’t live near us a chance to see more of what we do.”
The gala is near the end of this month on April 22 at the Marquis Gardens in Ancaster. Even though the event calls for black tie attire, it isn’t going to be heavily enforced. “We want people to be comfortable and come in clothes they feel good in,” said Bomberry. “ No one would be turned away for not wearing a tuxedo.”
Everlasting Tree School is making great strides in aligning itself with following traditional Haudenosaunee culture. From the way the children are learning the language to the types of food they are eating for lunch and snacks, it is all geared towards learning who you are and where you come from.
“Even something as simple as food can really help you feel grounded in who you are,” said Chandra Maracle, also a co-founder of Everlasting Tree School. “Every single person on the planet has to eat and the Haudenosaunee were the highest in class when it came to living agriculturally.”
The children are provided with snacks and lunches every day that are prepared with foods that you likely would have seen the Haudenosaunee eating pre-European contact. The school does it best to explain where the food came from through stories about their history and also to show them how to prepare it themselves, really getting the children involved.
These are just a few examples of how Everlasting Tree School is working towards nurturing the spirit of every child to guide and inspire them to realize their true potential as People of the Longhouse.
The school would love to see members of the community (and people not from the community) come out and support them at the gala. Tickets for the event cost $125 per person and includes food, entertainment, a silent auction, priceless time spent embracing the culture and more.
Event organizers are still seeking silent auction donations and have advertising and sponsorship opportunities with different levels of each available. They are hoping to fundraise $30,000 from the event.