Westmount Elementary student chief and council sworn in by Siksika Nation leadership

Student leadership consists of one chief and 20 councillors, made up of students from grades two to six.

Strathmore school has inaugurated its very first Indigenous student chief and council

Student leaders from Westmount Elementary and members of the Siksika Nation council. (Livia Manywounds/CBC)

It was momentous day for staff, students, and dignitaries at Westmount School as they gathered in the elementary music room for a special inauguration ceremony.

Indigenous student leaders were sworn in as the school's student chief and council.

The first-of-its-kind ceremony was led by Lori Redcrow, the school's Siksika liaison, and included an opening prayer by respected elder Clarence Wolfleg and members of the Siksika Nations council, including Chief Joe Weasel Child.

"We are very proud to have this group of kids bringing native awareness and native pride into the school," said Redcrow. 

Westmount education assistant and Siksika member Lori Redcrow hosted the event. (Livia Manywounds/CBC)

Other schools in the Golden Hills School Division have followed the idea, says Redcrow.

"It is very supportive to our First Nation students and we like to bring awareness and acceptance within the division," she said. 

The student leadership consists of one chief and 20 councillors, made up of students from grades two to six.

Corinna Hampson is the principal at Westmount elementary school and says the students can look forward to opportunities in the future.

"We're excited about the prospects of us building further relationships with our Siksika community and Strathmore community," she said.

Westmount principal Corinna Hampson says the program will help students with opportunities in the future. (Livia Manywounds/CBC)

The school offers a leadership and cultural inclusive program to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous students.

Both programs are a first for an off-reserve public school.

"It's interesting to watch all of our students, not just our Indigenous students, learn and grow with culture," said Hampson. 

"It's building understanding and its building acceptance."

Chief Joe Weasel Child was on hand to inaugurate the student leaders. (Livia Manywounds/CBC)

Weasel Child had the honour to inaugurate the student leadership.

"It speaks volumes and I'm very glad that this has started," he said.

The Siksika Nation leader then congratulated grade six student, Kaylynn Black Horse, who is from the Siksika Nation and will represent Westmount elementary school as student chief.

"I have been to other schools and there's nothing I've seen that is as progressive as here in Strathmore," said Weasel Child.

About the Author

Livia Manywounds is a reporter with the CBC in Calgary, a rodeo competitor and a proud member of the Tsuut’ina First Nation.


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