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OIB celebrates graduates with blanket ceremony

OIB celebrates graduates with blanket ceremony

Sophie Carrigan Gray

Local Journalism Initiative

The Osoyoos Indian Band celebrated this year’s high school graduates with a feast and blanket ceremony.

The ceremony recognized graduates and the people who have been inspirational in their lives. Each graduate was presented with a blanket, a traditional gift deeply rooted in First Nations traditions. 

Seth Baptiste is one of this year’s graduates. He grew up as a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band and graduated from South Okanagan Secondary School.

He said the ceremony was very community focused.

“There were just people meeting up, like all the Indigenous people meeting up and just celebrating the Indigenous grads and that, all having food,” said Baptiste.

He chose to have his father on stage to receive the blanket with him. His grandmother was also there to support him, but did not want to be up on stage.

Although Baptiste said graduating this year was different than usual, he’s happy to be done and looking forward to what adult life will bring.

“It was weird definitely, but it felt good to graduate,” he said.

Baptiste will be spending his summer working with kids at the Band’s summer programs. Once that’s over, he’s considering college to put his creativity to work.

“Maybe (for) jewel making, anything that’s hands on really. Art, so on and so forth,” he said. 

Baptiste was one of four Osoyoos Indian Band graduates from South Okanagan Secondary School this year, along with Ryan McGinnis, Aalyiha Chapman and Ty Baptiste-Lok. Omarah Paul also graduated this year from Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton. 

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