This school year, 2021-22, FLVT converted our past PD Centre (Room 11) into a First Nations Student Centre. The two reasons to do this were to create a safe place for our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students and assist our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students transitioning from Children of St. Martha’s School. To date, the centre has been thriving. Approximately 15 Jr. High students consistently use the centre. In addition, the centre has attracted both First Nations and non-First Nations students. Also, the centre serves as a workstation for our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Support Worker, Kendrick Fox.
Earlier this year, Mr. Fox and the students who use the centre began to suggest a name for the centre. After a brainstorming session with Mr. Fox and our students, they came up with the following name:
Ayinnimaoyiiyis = Hawks Nest/Lodge (eye-yin-nima-oi-yee-yis)
- Unsure how to pronounce Ayinnimaoyiiyis? Thank you to Mr. Fox, here is an audio file of the pronunciation:
The Blackfoot name ties nicely with our HAWKS Virtues and our school co-curricular team’s name. Also, Mr. Fox translated the words to Blackfoot. Mr. Fox has gone through all the rights of passages and initiations to being a Blackfoot Elder. Mr. Fox has the authority to give Blackfoot names. Mr. Fox came up with Ayinnimaoyiiyis for a few reasons:
1. It fits with our school logo
2. He started the seasonal round – learning from the land for classroom presentations. The biggest lesson was always preparing the Lodge for the next season.
3. The room is being used for student connections to our school, and the most prominent safe place is the lodge.
4. The nest and lodge are very similar linguistically in the Blackfoot language.
After the initial suggestion of Ayinnimaoyiiyis, Mr. Fox sent out an email to our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit parents asking for their thoughts. No parents objected. One guardian, a respected elder in the community, supported the name.
Recently, we surveyed our FLVT parent community and staff with the following question:
Here are the results:
Parents (121 responses) – Yes – 93.4 %, No – 6.6 %
Staff (18 responses) – Yes – 94.5 %, No – 5.5 %
We want to thank Mr. Fox and our students for their work in renaming Room 11. Also, we want to thank our School Council and St. Martha’s Parish for letters of support.
At the March 2022 School Board Meeting, our trustees voted in support of renaming Room 11 at FLVT to Ayinnimaoyiiyis.
Thank you to our School Board for their decision and support.
We look forward to Ayinnimaoyiiyis Student Centre being a valuable place and a focal point for all of our students.