Check out the Awesome: Salmo Elementary School

By Danica Weager, District Indigenization Coordinator

Greetings and Happy Fall from Salmo Elementary School!  

With the red leaves, crisp air and snow-capped mountains in Salmo, I feel so grateful for this land on which we live, learn and grow together. As we navigate the ever-changing pandemic mandates at school, we have been building community, rules and routines, and long-lasting friendship circles based on safety, care and respect. 

Truth and Reconciliation Day 

Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30th provided us with an opportunity at our school to reflect on many things: the truth of the 215 from Kamloops, (and the many more children who have been found since June 2021), the TRC Calls to Action, and the possibilities of what reconciliation might look like for kids in grades K-6.  At the elementary school level, this topic of residential schools can be difficult, and children experience this learning in vastly different ways. For some of the youngest students, school is their favorite place, and learning that many children weren’t treated well at school is hard concept to understand. We focus on gratitude and appreciation, and practice ways to show kindness for each other.  

At the intermediate level, we used “Art as storytelling” and explored reconciliation-themed paintings, old residential school photographs and photos of survivors to observe, wonder, question and infer more about the truth.  Some of the questions from older students included: Why and how did this happen? Why were Indigenous children treated this way? How did Residential School Survivors even survive? I have felt so much joy and pride for how much our students know already about Truth and Reconciliation. We explored new concepts like intergenerational trauma, Resilience, Dignity, the Ripple Effect, self-identity, Cultural Pride, to name a few.  Their young, empowered journeys have started. In my hopeful view, I want to believe that the systemic cycles of prejudice and racism are breaking, and we are rebuilding a new path towards a reconciled future.   

New Mural in Salmo 

We are continuing the idea of how “art tells a story” with the presentation of a new mural on the outside of the Fortis substation in Salmo. On Oct. 18th, there will be a small presentation by Ymir-based Tl’azt’en artist Damian John regarding the mural (and snacks for us as well).  The village of Salmo has invited all our Indigenous Education students to join for this small ceremony. Here is a sneak peak of the unfinished murals. This is on the corner of Fourth and Sayward St. for the viewing pleasure of the public. 

Enjoy the beautiful days of fall in the Kootenays! 

- Submitted by Kari-Lynn Hatt, Aboriginal Academic Success Teacher at Salmo Elementary School 

Danica Weager

By Danica Weager, District Indigenization Coordinator