The Kahnawake Survival School (KSS) would like to inform all Kahnawa’kehró:non that 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the birth of Kahnawake’s high school. To celebrate this event, a 40th Anniversary Planning Group is currently planning many events and activities for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year including a 40th Anniversary Gala, Tree Planting Ceremony, social dances, a ‘walkout’ from the village area to the present KSS school site, a photo gallery walk, sports tournaments, and more.
The Kahnawake Survival School (KSS) celebrated its 40th graduation class on Thursday, June 21st 2018. What does it mean to have successfully had our own Indigenous high school 40 years later? As reported by KahnawakeTV, Anne Marie Jacobs, KSS Mathematics teacher & alumni, had this to say, “I think Kahnawake Survival School was always a dream, to have a high school in Kahnawake was always something that parents wanted and wished for. The dream became a reality when Quebec decided that we were to have our eligibility papers. There were parents, one of which was my mother, who said no, we’re not going to be treated as immigrants. And this group of parents decided that if we were required to have these papers, we wouldn’t start school…it was basically overnight that they put together the Survival School when Howard S. Billings refused our students.”
As part of the yearlong planned activities, it is at this time that we put out the call to create a KSS Alumni Association where we will establish a network of people in the community to help the school in various areas. Tewenhni’tatshon Delisle, a long time Kahnawake educator and current KSS Kanien’kéha teacher, explains. “After 40 years, it’s time for a KSS Alumni Association to form. We aim to establish this network of individuals who can help the school in various areas such as past graduates coming to the school to share their experiences in education and business; creating and sponsoring scholarships and bursaries for grade 11 graduates; and helping to organize events and trips for students throughout the year at all grade levels. We aim to trace the whereabouts of all graduates and learn about their experiences in education, politics, health care, culture, language, and more.”
Jacobs continues, “I guess it’s our sovereignty, we are able to decide what our kids are gonna learn, what’s important to us, not somebody else telling us this is what you have to teach. We decide on what’s relevant and what our kids should be learning, and I think that’s the biggest importance of having our own high school.”
Other events planned are the KSS 40th Anniversary Gala to be held on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Tickets will be sold on a first come first served basis on Monday, August 6, 2018 at the Kahnawake Survival School from 9:00am to 2:00pm at a cost of $50. per ticket. Ticket purchasers (past graduates, alumni, staff) will also have the option of reserving a table for ten people.
Morgan Phillips, KSS graduate and alumni (1979-80) has been contracted by the Kahnawà:ke Education Center as the Coordinator of the 40th Anniversary celebration activities. KSS Principal Jackie Leclaire is looking forward to planned events throughout the upcoming school year. “We are looking forward to the upcoming school year and all the planned activities”, stated Leclaire.
For more information, contact:
Morgan Kahentonni Phillips
KSS 40th Anniversary Coordinator