What's in a name?
Everything when trying to bring cultures together
by Sandy Lindsay

February 14, 2017



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The students and staff of G. C. Huston Public School of Southampton want to make a difference.

They want the bridge that spans the Saugeen River to receive a new name ... 'Bimaadzwin in Ojibway or in English, 'The Good Path'.

Bridge spans the Saugeen River

The naming of the bridge would foster the joining of two communities ... Southampton, Saugeen Shores, on the south to Saugeen First Nation on the north side of the Saugeen River.

At the recent spirit assembly held at the school, Principal Dan Russell explained that G. C. Huston, known as the 'Home of the Hawks, is incorporating First Nation culture and learning into the school and he would like to see that broaden out to include both communities.

The Good Path or Bimaadzwin is based on the seven Grandfather teachings of the First Nations peoples ... respect, wisdom, bravery, honesty, love, humility and truth.  "By following the teachings," says Russell, "we all would walk 'the Good Path' in life.

The Grade 5 and 6 students of G. C. Huston have written letters to the Ministry of Transportation that oversees the bridge and Hwy. 21 that crosses it.  It is hoped that the Ministry will grant approval in 2017 to mark the 150th birthday of Canada and Bruce County.

If approval is given, the plan is to have banners installed on the light standards with each illustrating a Grandfather teaching.

The concept has the full support of Saugeen First Nation, the Blue Water School Board and the school hopes to also gain the support of Saugeen Shores Town Council.

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The teachings have also become an integral part of the cultural learning and behavior in the school.  Each month a classroom door is designed and painted by students to illustrate one of the teachings.  In addition, the 'spirit' shirts worn by students and staff at the spirit assemblies list the teachings.

       The Seven Grandfather teachings

(L) Ojibway teacher Marilyn Root and teacher Enid Johnston

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017