On Wednesday, October 5, 2022, The Children of St. Martha School hosted a Fall Pow-Wow. True to the spirit of its patron saint of hospitality, they invited community members and students from other schools in the division to come and partake.
As part of the day’s celebration, Elder Peter Strikes With a Gun (Piitaiipoyi) provided an exceptional gift to the school community by bestowing a traditional Blackfoot Name: Naatoowootak’oyis - “Holy Spirit Lodge”
In his explanation of the name, Peter spoke about the school’s patron, St. Martha, and her example of compassion, dedication and, ultimately, forgiveness. “This is what we have seen in this building that we have come to many times - the compassion of the young children, the dedication and service of all the schools we have attended. We feel at home when we walk in and we hope that we will continue in our reconciliation.”
After imparting his wisdom, Peter purified and blessed the building while his grandsons, Donovan Strikes With a Gun and Mason Yellowfeet, shared a ceremonial grass dance that reinforced connection to the land.
“We are truly humbled,” says Principal Shannon Collier. “This name is just another example of how blessed we are to have the guidance and wisdom of Peter, his wife Jeannie, and all of the Elders who are part of our school community. With our Elders, students and staff, we really are a family and we have so much to be grateful for.”
“It was a remarkable day,” notes Superintendent Ken Sampson. “I can’t think of a more perfect name to describe the welcoming and loving daytime home provided for our students by The Children of St. Martha School…it’s very fitting.”
This new Blackfoot name will be prominently displayed, reminding all who enter that they are welcome.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers