On the shore of Lake Huron in Bruce County, two communities are working together to become more connected – Saugeen First Nation and Southampton, Saugeen Shores.
On June 21st (2018), Indigenous People’s Day, the two communities came together in an historic moment. Peoples gathered, from one side to the other, on the bridge that spans the Saugeen River between their communities to celebrate and officially gave the bridge an Ojibway/English name, ‘Zgaa-biig-ni-gan’ … “We Are Connected”.
Although several names were considered, elder Rita Root put forward the name Zgaa-biig-ni-gan (We Are Connected). G. C. Huston students voted and the name was chosen.
The vision was that of Southampton’s G. C. Huston Public School Principal Dan Russell, where the student body is made almost equally of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.
Russell, who has been Principal at the little school for almost eight years, embraced the philosophy of the First Nations’ Seven Grandfather’s teachings and has worked to instill them not only in the school but throughout the communities.
He has made the teachings an integral part of the cultural learning and behaviour in the school. Each month for more than a year, a classroom door was 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.
Saugeen First Nations Ladies Drummers
The Men’s Drumming corps
Mayor Mike Smith
Melissa Root and grandmother Rita