The Peigan Board of Education (PBOE) brought on a new initiative this year, which sees community leaders memorialized throughout the halls of Piikani schools through their new Poster Campaign.
The Poster Campaign was introduced as a way for students to embrace community role models, and honour the contributions that individuals have made for their community as a whole.
The late Barnaby Provost, Karen Crowshoe, Cowboy Smithx, Tyrone Potts Jr., the late Brings Down The Sun, Colton Yellow Horn, Shirlee Crowshoe, Rachel Strikes With A Gun, Herman Many Guns, and Macyn Morning Bull were all selected by PBOE to be featured, and were gifted their framed posters during the Piikani Nation Secondary School’s Traditional Pow Wow on January 30.
Leroy Crazy Boy, Structural Readiness Coordinator at PBOE, said the initiative has been in the works for some time, and said it’s nice to finally see it come into fruition.
“It’s been a process now for quite a few months. It came out of some discussions that have been going on for quite some time now,” said Crazy Boy.
Staff members throughout PBOE came up with an initial list of about 200 nominees, and through a voting process narrowed it down to the 10 individuals who had posters made in their honour.
Crazy Boy said this was the first poster campaign that PBOE has undertook, and the goal is to give students community leaders to look up to.
“The reason why we chose to go this route is that it’s something that students can go back and continually look at,” said Crazy Boy.
“It’s something that’s been familiar with other initiatives both nationally and through other organizations where we recognize the efforts of individuals that have had an impact in their community,” he said.
“We want (our students) to graduate with a diploma. We want them to take the values that they receive from that education, and to go forward and find success in their lives, however that looks and what that means to them.”
Crazy Boy said it was a difficult selection process, as there were many members of the community to choose from.
“When we were looking at how we were going to select certain people from our community, there are people who have arts backgrounds, or people who are elders, and people who are part of our school community that engage with our students and our cultural or language activities,” said Crazy Boy.
“We were asking how much of an impact they had. A lot of the role models could come from an area of athletics, so who are those people and how do they have an impact?” he said.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to inspire (the students), but inspire them in these various areas. The message is to have them to strive and reach their personal goals.”
Crazy Boy said the Piikani community is very interconnected, and some of the selected role models are active among the student bodies.
“We’re very familiar with our (community) members, especially when they’ve had an impact. (Many of them) are directly involved with students on a regular basis,” said Crazy Boy.
“Karen Crowshoe is a judge, and she’s made that commitment to her role in the justice system. She’s very familiar, and she comes back into the community often,” he said.
“Colton Yellow Horn still plays hockey, but he plays in Europe. People are very familiar with him.
“They’re all very active as resources, whether it comes to cultural or language.”
Of the selected group honoured through the posters, Piikani’s Cowboy Smithx is also receiving a 2020 Indspire—a national award which celebrates indigenous achievement.
Smithx is set to receive an award for his work in the arts during the Indspire Awards Prix at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ont. on March 6.
Crazy Boy said after all of the hours and effort put into the campaign, it was a good feeling to see the final product.
“Having personally seen the posters and the process of how they (came to be), after the came off the press and came out in front of us, we were so happy,” said Crazy Boy.
“We’re happy because the students are finally able to see something in their hallways that signify members of their community that have gone on to do something exceptional,” he said.
“It’s something tangible. It’s something they can look up and can see. We’re happy that the students are able to… go and look for inspiration.”