It is Aboriginal Week at Bear Creek Elementary this week. There are a variety of guest speakers, storytellers, activities such as learning Slahal (traditional guessing game), making bannock, and other educational experiences focused on aboriginal culture planned throughout the week.
Bear Creek Elementary is situated on Katzie Territory and we are very fortunate to have support for our school with regards to resources focusing on aboriginal culture, as well as staff who are experienced themselves, either personally or professionally, with aboriginal culture. Two such staff members are Joanne Fischer and Len Pierre, who are full of knowledge and put together an amazing week of discovery for us all.
On Monday after the students had a chance to socialize, enjoy their centre time, and sharing we distributed their spelling lists. The students are on an individualized spelling program, and have words that are applicable to their own individual learning needs. This week I also thought it was important to incorporate a variety of words that will become meaningful for them throughout this week – aboriginal terms.
After recess we viewed two amazing carvings completed by Clarence Mills as Len explained the process and the meaning behind them.
Then, our class was fortunate to experience drumming & singing by the talented Mavis & Donovan, both also from Katzie Territory.
Our class has more exciting experiences waiting for them to discover the rest of the week: Jingle Dress Dance by Victoria Vaillancourt, Storytelling by Robbie Bandura, and to view a variety of aboriginal displays. Elders will be visiting Bear Creek Elementary as well wearing their traditional regalia to share about their community and background. The week will end with a closing assembly and Hoop Dance Presentation.
This is a fabulous opportunity for students and staff to experience different aspects of a culture many of our students are already a part of. I also feel that it is important to incorporate the many amazing aspects of aboriginal culture into our lessons and classrooms daily. For my lessons there are a lot of tactile/hands-on activities, and regular opportunities to share thoughts and learning orally.
Happy National Aboriginal Day (Canada) on Friday, June 21. Let’s keep the awareness going.