Celebrating a decade of pride, culture, language & ancestry at Xpey̓ Elementary
The school community at Xpey̓ Elementary, an Indigenous focus school – celebrated 10 years of fostering pride in and knowledge of Indigenous culture, language and ancestry.
This joyous community event, held on May 25, included speeches by former teaching staff and the PAC chair as well as many student performances that showcased Indigenous cultures, traditions, histories and spiritualities. Students also learned Métis dance and history from the Compagnie V’ni Dansi Louis Riel Métis Dancers, as well as the history of powwow from the Smokey Valley Singers.
Long-time school community member, Jolene Andrew, of the Gitxsan Huwilp, PAC Chair at Xpey,’ noted the importance of community for the school. “I think back to 10 years ago: how did this all start and was what was the parent involvement. There was a great uptake with the build-up, with the community consultations to the launching and implementation of the school.”
More than a school, Xpey̓ is a gathering place that celebrates Indigenous ways of knowing, learning and being. In the Musqueam dialect of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (halk-uh-MAY-lum), Xpey̓ means cedar, and it has cultural, educational, historical and spiritual resonance for this school's community. The name reflects deep respect for the cedar tree that plays an integral role in the spiritual beliefs and ceremonial life of local Indigenous peoples. The name was gifted by Musqueam to the school in 2018.
Now 10 years after becoming an Indigenous focus school, like the cedar – a powerful symbol of strength and revitalization – the school community continues its journey with vitality and shared pride!