Thursday, April 29th, 2021
Aboriginal Education at Winlaw has been working with diverse resources this year. Some students have been collaborating with a local Sinixt elder learning about traditional governance and environmental stewardship through that lens. This has had a profound impact on the students and they are now going to be learning some of the creation stories that come from ancestral Sinixt lineage. We are excited to see this project unfolding in the school! It could not have happened without the amazing work of teacher Linda Out for securing a grant and spearheading the facilitation of this program.
Other classes have accessed language resources from the Salish School of Spokane website. They have been learning how to count and name animals in the Salish dialect n’selxcin. All the classes are eagerly looking forward to May when we will be hosting First Nations elder and Artist Pat Bruderer, Half Moon Woman, who is a carrier of the ancient artform of Birch Bark Biting. Depending on COVID restrictions her presentation is fully zoom ready but we are hoping to have our Elder come and sit on the grass safely outside if possible so that she can meet the children face to face (fingers crossed).
During her presentation the students learn the historical and contemporary uses of Birch Bark and about this amazing artform. At the end of the presentation they get to experience biting their own piece of Birch Art. This presentation is deeply profound and powerful for the students and staff. Aboriginal Academic Success Teacher Jenna Hopper who is of Metis Cree descent has also been talking to the students about the importance of honoring our gifts through the spirit of generosity and sharing. Role modelling is an important part of Indigenous pedagogy so Jenna has been sharing her gift of music with the children.
The older students have been learning some Rising Appalachia songs and are looking forward to taking them to the water to share this spring. All this while also studying a Cree code of ethics that was produced by a group of Elders from Treaty 6 area. Jenna asked for permission to use the code of ethics in her programming from the appropriate representatives. When asked who she could acknowledge for creating the document her friend replied, “the creators did through a group of elders.” It is easy to be struck by the humility, wisdom and honor in these ancient ways. The code of ethics goes into a detailed descriptive approach to respect through a Cree lens. The grade 5 students are currently working on creating symbolic posters inspired by the teachings outlined in this profound document for deeper reflection. The philosophical conversations about respect that have been ensuing are really important and can be deeply transformative for those who are ready to receive the teachings.
Hiy hiy, lim limpt thank you
Aboriginal Academic Success Teacher