The Ardrossan Alberta Sparks and Brownies had the amazing opportunity to participate in a group event that hosted one of Canada’s acclaimed speakers and First Nations grass dancers, Jason E. Skani.
Growing up in what he calls “Cree Country” Alberta, Jason has made it his mission to educate the upcoming generation about our First Nations heritage and speaks from the heart about the values and goals that he hopes to instill in all of our youth. His vision simply being that every human respects themselves, those around them, animals and the earth; do everything from a place of love; and respect, and strive to be the best people that we can be.
Jason wore full traditional regalia that was extraordinarily impressive and all handmade – each of the thousands of beads having significance, each stitch representing something meaningful to the maker, respect going to every plume, feather and fibre. Our Sparks and Brownies were awestruck of what is likely the most beautiful and incredibly meaningful clothing they’ve seen.
When Jason performed his traditional dance, the room moved to the beat of the drum, captivated. The vibe was one of overwhelming unity as he invited the girls to dance with him in a traditional “Jingle Dress Healing Dance.” With every soul participating to the best of their ability, hearts were moved and connected in this amazing opportunity and there was a huge sense of gratitude to be included in this experience. The girls showed great appreciation for the magnitude of effort and skill of our First Nations dancers.
Jason’s final reflections were parallel with the teachings of Girl Guides of Canada – that every person has a place and a purpose in this life, that no matter where you come from, we all have the same hearts beating inside of us, the same colour blood and we are all equal and connected. He encouraged our girls to go forward and embrace the opportunities we have to make a difference in this world, to respect our elders and through our joy and experiences make them proud, revitalizing the fire in their hearts. He challenged our girls to burn brightly as members of families, Guiding and our community; to embrace every opportunity, reflect on our privileges, make it our mission to challenge ourselves to do our best and to give back, remembering that this life and everything in it that we love are truly gifts.
By guest blogger Dawn Quigg, a first-year Sparks Guider in Ardrossan, Alberta (Sherwood Park District). Dawn is passionate about providing interesting, fun, educational, and interactive activities for the Sparks in her unit.