Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

April 29, 2010

Mission Community Showcase spotlights student talent and effort

By B.L. Azure

Mission Elementary School students decked themselves out in duds usually adorned by folks from other countries while they sang, "We are the World" at the showcase. (B.L. Azure photo)
Mission Elementary School students decked themselves out in duds usually adorned by folks from other countries while they sang, "We are the World" at the showcase. (B.L. Azure photo)

ST. IGNATIUS — The students of the Mission school system got to strut their stuff Thursday evening at the annual Mission Community Showcase. The annual event has grown over the years to become a St. Ignatius social staple based on education. It is much anticipated and very well attended. It is a great way to get the school, students and community to walk hand-in-hand through the halls of education. Parents and grandparents as well as the interested public get exposure to the school’s programs, staff and student accomplishments.

Every class, every subject, every teacher and every student gets involved in the Showcase. Student projects occupied the walls of hallways and elementary, middle and high school classrooms as well as the Dog House. Several high school seniors, for the fifth year now gave presentations of their senior projects to the interested public.

Antoinette Yazzie presented her senior project. (B.L. Azure photo)
Antoinette Yazzie presented her senior project. (B.L. Azure photo

Antoinette Yazzie was one of the seniors who gave a presentation. It was about her experience in the summer Journey in Creativity Program on the campus of the Oregon College of the Arts and Crafts in Portland.

Yazzie said art has always been important in her life. She started beading at a young age and her artistic curiosity blossomed from that seed.

“I want to do pottery. I like hands-on work,” she said.

Yazzie was one of 16 students accepted in the two-week summer arts program and was the first person from the Flathead Indian Reservation to attend. Each year the summer art program picks an artistic subject and all the students put their unique artistic perspective on creation of the art piece. The main subject of the summer arts program Yazzie attended was the art of the canoe.

Travis Dumont showed the public how to shoe a horse at the Mission Schools Community Showcase. (B.L. Azure photo)
Travis Dumont showed the public how to shoe a horse at the Mission Schools Community Showcase. (B.L. Azure photo)

“It was very intense at Journeys in Creativity,” Yazzie said, adding that the 16 high school age participants came from throughout the world. “I didn’t want to go at first because it costs a lot of money.”

However, once she began fund raising to defray costs of attendance she began to get excited about the opportunity that lay before her. “Three months before I was supposed to go I started to raise funds,” she said. “I raised $1,000 the first week. The Tribal Council donated some money too and let me display my works at the fall quarterly.”

After that there was no turning back.

While in Oregon at the summer art program Yazzie, among other things, made a carving knife, a carved wooden canoe model with sail, and carved a traditional canoe paddle.

“Working on my project was really cool,” she said.

The annual Mission Schools Community Showcase was a hair-raising experience for many folks including this young one. (B.L. Azure photo)
The annual Mission Schools Community Showcase was a hair-raising experience for many folks including this young one. (B.L. Azure photo)

Yazzi and the other students at the summer program had to attend numerous lectures and conducted research field trips. Her research subject was the construction of a model of a traditional Salish canoe and paddle as well as an optional sail. They also began the traditional construction of a full-sized (21-foot) canoe.

The artwork created at the program was displayed at the Grande Ronde Reservation in Oregon, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and the Oregon Historical Museum. Yazzie’s works were also displayed at the Peoples Center and last week at the Community Showcase.

The foreign food table was very popular with everyone at the Mission Community Showcase. (B.L. Azure photo)
The foreign food table was very popular with everyone at the Mission Community Showcase

“It was great to have the opportunity to have our artwork displayed at the Smithsonian,” Yazzie said, adding that she and other students got to go to the Nation’s capital to view their work at the Smithsonian.

“Doing this has been a very amazing experience,” Yazzie said.

And so was the annual Mission Community Showcase. Amazing, very amazing.

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