Photographs of Sod Turning Ceremony

=== by Bob Sutherland ===

Page 1 of 2

Photographs taken at the official sod turning ceremony to begin construction of a new school in Turnor Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. The ceremony took place in the cleared field beside the band office.

Background History

For approximately thirteen years the Birch Narrows First Nation Band waited for the federal government of Canada to build them a new school. A whole generation of students would enter kindergarten and pass through the school system always expecting that a new school was going to be built for them but nothing happened.

A site was chosen. The forest was cut down creating a big open field. Blueprints for the building construction were designed by architects and engineers. Population counts, environmental studies and a cost analysis were completed. Then all of the completed paperwork just sat on a government shelf collecting dust.

While waiting the First Nation Band took control of the only public school building in the Hamlet of Turnor Lake. I remembered hearing about that incident from a school superintendent during a staff meeting while I was teaching on the far side of the province. It was an old, decaying school building that the band would use for about eight more years while waiting for their new school building.

During August 2008 a major, international, economic recession began. American style greed and mismanagement was causing the world's financial markets to collapse. Governments and businesses were going bankrupt while many individuals were losing their jobs, homes and life savings.

By the spring of 2009 Canadian politicians were responding to the financial crisis by recycling a very old idea that politicians had been trying since at least the Great Recession of October 1929. The theory was to spend a lot of government money on infrastructure construction projects to get Canadian workers employed again so they will start paying taxes again. The bureaucrats were sent scrambling looking for any government construction projects that could begin immediately.

Fortunately for the Birch Narrows First Nation Band their new school construction project was all ready to go. The bureaucrats found the paperwork. The following sod turning ceremony took place. Construction of the new school was finally about to begin.

Unfortunately for me it was the end of the school year and the end of my teaching contract at the local school. I attended the sod turning ceremony with my students. A few days later I moved out of the community so construction workers could live in my teacherage. I never saw the new school that was built to replace the Turnor Lake school that I taught in.

Zoom photos:   40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 120% 140% 160% 180% 200% of screen width.

Photo: sod1.jpg ~ Three teachers posing for the camera.
Photo: sod2.jpg ~ Community members, students and school staff gathering at the Band Office for the sod turning ceremony.
Photo: sod3.jpg ~ A community elder saying a few words of wisdom and then a prayer.
Photo: sod4.jpg ~ Some back row audience members listening to the prayer and speeches.