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Land Acknowledgement

Flag Dedication picture

FLAG DEDICATION (OCT. 8, 2021): Prior to Thursday’s Board of Education meeting Superintendent Aaron Johnson accepted the donation of a Haudenosaunee Confederacy flag. It’s another layer of our 2020 Land Acknowledgement, in which the West Irondequoit CSD recognizes the Indigenous People of this region and that our school buildings sit on the homelands of the Onöndowa'ga:´ (Seneca) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Pictured below (from left to right) are Ms. Kim Cristal, our K-12 Director of Humanities, Ms. Kim Schon, our Director Health, Physical Education and Athletics; Dr. Johnson, Mr. Ron Garrow, Ms. Kathy Castania of SURJ ROC (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and Dr. Debra Spitulnik Vidali. She is an Irondequoit High School graduate (Class of ’77) and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Emory University. Mr. Garrow, an Akwesasne Mohawk, is director of the Indigenous People Center of Rochester and Cultural Advisor to SURJ ROC. He is a former executive director of the Native American Cultural Center. His son, Ron, graduated from IHS last June. Mr. Garrow and Dr. Spitulnik Vidali have informed some of our district’s work regarding the Land Acknowledgement. A larger flag is scheduled to be dedicated next spring.

As Indigenous People's month draws to a close, the West Irondequoit CSD is proud to share with our community a Land Acknowledgement that was approved by the Board of Education on Nov. 19, 2020. It states (revised Aug. 12, 2021):

The West Irondequoit Central School District acknowledges the Indigenous People of this region and that this school district building sits on the homelands of the Onöndowa'ga:´ (Seneca) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It is on these lands that we teach, learn, and live.

The WICSD continues to develop its cultural competency through the leadership of Ms. Kimberly Cristal, our K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Supervisor with student leaders, Ethan Riester and Tyra Oglesby. We will recognize year-long opportunities to celebrate and foster understanding through Cultural Heritage Months. Throughout the year, student coalitions will:

  • Create space regularly for members of groups such as Student Council, Mosaics Club, Amnesty International and more, to share their perspective.
  • Find opportunities for students to authentically experience elements of cultures outside their own.
  • Bring awareness to acknowledge the diverse cultures at Irondequoit High School and throughout our district.

Planning and implementation began with Latinx and LGBTQ+ awareness in October. The coalitions will be planning activities to celebrate Black History Month in February and to plan additional cultural heritage celebrations throughout the remainder of the year. READ MORE on our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion page.