High School Holding Two Graduation Ceremonies - One For Natives, One For Whites

September 2007

A Saskatchewan community is polarized after graduation ceremonies broke down along racial lines – one of non-aboriginal students and a second of mostly First Nations students. In January, the 16 Grade 12 students at Leask Community School started organizing a ceremony for their class independently from the students who attend what is known as the Storefront program. It is an alternate program allowing adults to return to school and earn their high school diploma. Both programs usually hold a shared ceremony. “It got to where the native students… wanted to come with us,” said Storefront graduate Jackie Bird, 21, who is from Mistawasis First Nation. “All the white kids are still having their own.”