Thursday, September 8, 2016

Just Like Our Grandmother: Help from Elder Alma

Truth, Jerrett (JJ), Sebastian (Shorty), Sheena, and Ashton with Elder Alma

"We were honoured to have Elder Alma in our class," says Truth. "I learned a few things about sweetgrass and smudging, and what you're supposed to do with it after you're done using it. You take all the ashes and put them somewhere in your environment that's really quiet. I felt really good and happy when Elder Alma was with us because of the sudden deaths we have experienced. I will remember our class because it's the best class I've had so far. When Elder Alma said her own language, it made me feel like everyone should learn their own language. She reminded me of my grandmother. She's exactly the same, I think."

"We were honoured to have Elder Alma in our class," says Jerrett. "I learned a lot of different things that day about Residential school, my culture, and not only just my culture. She said a lot about the Europeans and such, meanings about life and it was a pretty good feeling to have."

"We were honoured to have Elder Alma in our class," says Shorty. "I learned about certain medicine, how to treat them, and how to thank them after you are done using them. I felt comfortable when we spoke with her as if she was my own grandmother. I will remember all the stories she told us and the teachings she left with us. She reminded me of my grandmother who passed away, just how sweet she was, along with her wise words."

"We were honoured to have Elder Alma in our class," says Sheena. "Since the beginning of the school year, we have learned of three deaths of former colleagues. One of the women worked very closely with some of us, and we were looking forward to working with her this year. The other woman and her husband had worked with many of us, closely, in the past. Our school is grieving, so Elder Alma agreed to come and help us in this difficult time. She led a smudge and a talking circle for any staff or students who wanted to participate. She came back with us to our room. I'll always remember how she told the young men that she was so proud of them, that they were like her grandsons. She said that when older people see young people, so respectful, learning what they need to learn, that they make the old people so happy."

"We were honoured to have Elder Alma in our class," says Ashton. "I was actually grateful to her for teaching us how to handle the sweet grass and sage after we were done. It reminded me back in the days when she used to teach me Cree. She asked me to read some Cree words, and I kind of got it. It was very good to see her again, because I haven't seen her in a while. After the smudge, it made me feel more open minded. It made me feel good."

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