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Indigenous Learning and Culture

Learning About Salmon

Nesika Elementary

Kukwstsétsemc Ms. Murphy for sharing local salmon learning with our students this week. She was gifted with Salmon and the first thing she wanted to do was share about her culture and tradition with our students. You’re the best!

Thank you Holly Zurak for sharing!


Making dzax tlagh (pitch medicine)

A Columneetza Class out on the land gathering and making dzax tlagh (pitch medicine) with knowledge keeper, Mariah Myers.

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SD27 Role Model at the WLFN Speaking Our Truth competition Pow Wow

School District #27 Indigenous Role Models, Paige Romaniuk and Angus Paul took part in the WLFN Speaking Our Truth competition Pow Wow.  Here you see them posing with Kukpi7 Sellars of WLFN.  


Preparing Salmon at Lake City Secondary - Williams Lake

The Grade 10 Carrier class preparing salmon!

The Salmon were caught and cleaned by Chief Willie Sellars of WLFN. Guest support provided by Shianne Sulin of Denisiqi. Carrier Teacher Leanna Leon and FN Curriculum Development Teacher Dancing Water Sandy guided students to prepare the salmon. Students including, Annika Elkins, Ava Holte, Joey Sill, Aiden Squinas, Ethan Squinas, and Avery Toney were 100% engaged!  

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SD 27 Role Models in the Tl’etinqox Ride

There were bikers and riders from Tl’etinqox and Yunesit’in in the 19th annual horse and bike ride from Tl’etinqox to Williams Lake.  The ride started on June 25th arriving in town on June 29th. The theme for this year’s ride was, "We ride for the Lost Loved Ones, the 215 and the 93 children" Toward the back of the ride was one riderless horse in honour of the ride’s founder, Roland Alphonse. The SD 27 role models joined the ride at the Welcome to Williams Lake sign. They were proud to represent the district and were excited by the cheers and smiles that greeted them from the crowds that gathered along the side of the highway.  


Indigenous Celebration Art Show

Lead by Penny Reid at 100 Mile Elementary created beautiful art reflecting Indigenous learning throughout the year. Take a virtual tour here


Button Blanket at Marie Sharpe Elementary

A 3 year project is finally complete! We have this wonderful button blanket hanging proudly in our office. The design is by our Indigenous Support Worker Karen Grant. Buttons were sewn on by our culture teachers, Karen and students at the school. It represents all of the communities around our school and who have students attending Marie Sharpe. What a wonderful way to celebrate our families. Have a look and see how many animals you can find!!Button%20Blanket2.jpg


Tatla Lake Elementary & Jr. Secondary is grateful to the First Nations Educational Council for the funding to support the purchase of moccasin kits.  Our grade 4-10 students engaged in the creative process of making and embellishing moccasins and enjoyed the hands on learning experience.  This project emphasized the principle that learning takes patience and time.


Post Education

On April 13-14, Indigenous students interested in post-secondary education were given an opportunity to travel to Kamloops to tour Thompson Rivers University.  Students were supported on the trip by Elder Cecilia Derose, David Archie, Geraldine Bob, and Nic Suapa.  Students were exposed to available programs and introduced to supports that are available through the university.  It was a wonderful two-day trip full of learning and eye-opening experiences.


Forest Grove Indigenous Learning and Culture - Rock and Canvas Painting

Our First Nations’ Support Worker, Angel Smith, has been “rocking it” with student activities at Forest Grove Elementary.  Students have been painting rocks and canvas, learning the Shuswap language,  along  with various other activities.  They are looking forward to upcoming rattle-making, ethnobotany, and drum-making activities in the upcoming weeks. 


Trapping Knowledge at Dog Creek School

Here are some pictures of Anaham band member Blaine Grinder who is a traditional trapper.  McLayne from 3 Corner's brought him out to share his knowledge about trapping, hide tanning and leather work.  The students got to work with their hands and build they own knife sheath after hearing about the different ways fur has been used traditionally.  One of our RCMP liaison workers also joined in and helped the students.


Truth and Reconciliation 

 Students at Mile 108 Elementary continue to learning the truth about Canadian history and it impact on Indigenous people.  Also, about kindness and how important it is to treat others the way we want to be treated.  We all continue this important journey together!


Importance of Eagle Feathers

Naya Thomas (Grade 3)  created this wood burned feather onto cedar after a class discussion at 100 Mile Elementary about the importance of eagle feathers in Indigenous Culture.


Metis Beadwork Professional Development Day

On Feb 18th, teachers had the opportunity to take part in the Metis beadwork professional development day.  Participants learned to bead a Metis floral pattern.  They also discussed how the gift of time reflects on the greater population and each other.  Further they explored the First People’s Principles of Learning and the Aboriginal Ways of Being and Knowing.  The lessons are meant to be taken back to students in grades 3-12. 


Welcome Back Drumming

Mike Archie of WLFN and SD#27 First Nation Role Model Seth Cahoose provide welcome back drumming to Lake City Secondary.  Students were greeted to the heartbeat of the drum and started the year off in a good way. Drumming-1.jpg


A community member has been sharing knowledge of trapping with students at Alexis Creek school. Here a group were able to observe and help in the skinning of a lynx.

Good Morning

Each morning, Big Lake students start their day gathered outside in circle - an intentional shape. This year, as part of the morning circle, students are practicing saying good morning or hello in different languages, including Secwepemc.

Learning Series: Truth & Reconciliation: Kevin Lamoureux

LCSS had 4 classes join in the Kevin Lameroux learning about Reconciliation session offer Feb 24th. These four teachers worked with students to prepare 1-2 questions to ask Kevin should the opportunity arise and if the question was not addressed in the presentation. They also spent time briefing (pre and post) the workshop, overall feedback was very positive and informative as Kevin's ability to personalize the presentation to students in the classroom was fantastic.

Skyline Alternate School Workshop

Skyline Alternate School students learns to skin muskrats and mink with the help of Blain Char. In the second workshop the students learned to scrape the hid before it is tanned. 

Dog Creek Shuswap Class

Students in the school have begun work on weaving and then building their own Traditional Dip Nets.  The plan is to have them construct their own nets by the end of April so they can use them this summer to harvest their own fish to smoke and can.  Thank you to Mary Boston and Allison Harry for their instruction/Knowledge sharing and Tavi Harry for her help in facilitating this activity and supporting the students.

'Ses" Song - Alexis Creek Elementary/Junior Secondary School

Another video from the awesome singers in Chilcotin class at Alexis Creek! This is the 'Ses" (bear) song. Students learn songs that reflect each month. February is Benen Ses     ?Elhtsish or the month bears are having their cubs.

Lake City Secondary Shuswap Class

The photos below are medicine pouches. Dancing Water joined our class during A block. From left to right we have Tristen, Maximus, Cashis, Dancing Water, Elias, and Miles. The other photo is Tristen, Maximus, and Keane.

Medicine Bags

A great day with CCWRAP/Skyline youth  making medicine bags.  Elder Bella Alphonse introduced the cultural teachings around medicine bags and how to make the medicine bags. Gail did a great job making soup for the group and Alicia from Skyline made bannock.

Fur Trade

Greg and Karen Pellerin spoke to 100 Mile Elementary students on the importance and significance of the fur trade from an Indigenous perspective.  Pictured, Karen speaks to the significance of the weasel and why it is worn in the hair.  Kayman Richardson checks out the lynx, while Kenzie McNabb and Hudson Grabowiecki display the wolf furs. 

Drumming at Nesika Elementary

What a gift to observe our student teacher Kaylee Billyboy teach our students about her language and culture during this drumming lesson today. Masterful. The big drums “resonated deep in our bellies”. We love learning with and from our student teachers!

Chaga Hunting in the February Sun

In February right before the sap begins to flow the birch tree chaga (medicinal,high anti-oxidant fungus) is at its prime.  Heather Auger and Gail Bittner organized a chaga hunt for CCWRAP and Skyline youth.  It was like hunting for treasure and the kids had a blast.  The fire grounded everyone after the hunting and warmed them up. 

Every Child Matters

Upon hearing about the findings at St. Josephs, Ms. Lyons' grade 4/5 class wanted to show support to everyone affected by this devastating news. Wearing orange shirts with the rest of Cataline, they created shirts with Every Child Matters. The students traced their hands and wrote messages to families of the lost and/or the children themselves. Heartfelt messages such as "we will never forget you" "Stay Strong" "Love" are written on the hands.  

Metis Project

Ms. Goodliffe’s Gr 2/3 class from Marie Sharpe has taken the First People’s Principles and applied it to learning about the Metis Nation with stories and hands-on activities. One of the activities was inspired by the story “Metis Christmas Mittens” by Leah Marie Dorion. Students had the opportunity to create a mitten. Materials for the mitten project included wool for felting, recycled fibres, and fur. Hudson Bay heritage blankets and Metis sashes help bring the stories to life.

Making Pine Needle Baskets

Lake City Secondary Students took part in basket making. Freda Alphonse is seen holding the basket constructed by Dancy Water Sandy as a model. Victoria Myers is pictured below proudly showing her progress.  Shania Plasway and Lakeira Jack work away diligently on theirs.

Secwepemc Honor Song

100 Mile Elementary School organized an event to pay tribute to the children and recognize the findings that were released from the St. Joseph Mission research.  

The entire school joined elders and a student drumming group in speeches and song.  Students who wished to take part also learned and participated in a smudge.  The video below is the Secwepemc Honor Song.  

Esk'etemc Cultural Awareness

In October and November, SD27 staff had the opportunity to take part in a cross-cultural workshop presented by elders and knowledge keepers at Esk’etemc. The workshop was called, “A First Step in Esk’etemc Cultural Awareness”. Although held at different locations within the territory, the Friday morning sessions focused on intergenerational trauma and its implications for Indigenous people within the contemporary education system. Dave Belleau recounted his experiences from residential school, as well as the journey he took afterward on his way to healing himself and others who survived traumatic experiences in their youth. After Dave’s presentation, participants made their way around the circle, introducing themselves and sharing their ethnicity and cultural backgrounds before having lunch together. 

During the sessions, Freddie Johnson Sr. shared the protocols and the spiritual significance of the traditional sweat ceremony. Participants then had the opportunity to experience the sweat first-hand. Although it was an introductory sweat (around an hour in length as opposed to three hours), it gave the participants the chance to appreciate the ceremony’s importance to the Secwepemc people.

On Saturday, Kukpi7 Fred Robbins led a land tour of historically significant landmarks and various sites, allowing participants to understand the current land claims the Esk’etemc are pursuing. These areas contained unmarked graves, former pit house depressions, and an airport that was built without consultation. The journey ended with a smudge ceremony back at the Sxoxomic School.

Over the course of the two days, participants had the chance to feel a connection to the land, the learning, and the people they were learning with. The elders and knowledge keepers shared their expertise in a kind and caring way. It was a positive first step toward a vision Kukpi7 Fred Robbins has had for years, where SD27 staff seek out the knowledge that is available on the traditional territories where our schools are located and where his community’s youth attend. Co-planners; Calvin Dubray - Esk’etemc Education Director,  Ryan Hanley - CCTA Pro-d Rep., and Nara Riplinger - Columneetza teacher, were happy to have the opportunity to work with Kukpi7 Fred Robbins in taking this first step forward. We are looking forward to seeing the next group of educators for sharing, learning and understanding. The hope is that with this shared learning, educators of SD 27 can transfer this knowledge back to the students as we pave a path for future generations of authentic Truth and Reconciliation.

There are plans to offer another workshop on the April 29 Pro-D day. Please contact Ryan Hanley for details.

Welcome Back with Drumming

Students at a number of SD 27 schools were welcomed back to school on January 10 with drumming. These videos show the drumming and smudging at Dog Creek in their beautiful outdoor structure.

Jingle Bells in Tsilhqot'in!

At Alexis Creek Elementary-Secondary School the primary Chilcotin language class has been working hard and were delighted to share some traditional Christmas Songs with caregivers and community. A big thank you to teacher Annette Frank for all of her work with students at Alexis Creek! The school is very proud of their young singers whose skills in the language shine in moments like this! Check out this fantastic version of Jingle Bells in Tsilhqot'in! See the video here.

 Medicine Gathering Day

Naghtaneqed students joined elders and community members on a medicine gathering day. Students picked Bedz+sh Ts'ediyan also known as Labrador tea. The group collected enough tea to provide for elders, the youth group, and each student took some home. We put some away for our annual culture week. We also discovered a salamander!

Annual Indigenous Day

On December 9, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School held their annual Indigenous Day.

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Celebrating the Season in Tshilqot’in Language

Superintendent van der Mark visited Alexis Creek  and was treated to a lovely version of Jingle Bells in Tshilqot’in in Ms. Frank’s class.


Drum Making at Skyline Alternate


Women's Warrior Song

Nesika Elementary Teacher Charlotte Haines and students practicing the Women's Warrior Song to honour all the women-grandmas, aunties, and sisters who play an important and positive role in all of our lives or have passed on. 

Ms. Haines says it is her pleasure to teach and talk about the importance of the Women's Warrior Song. Participants are asked to stand up and remove hats or caps when singing this song as a sign of respect.

Dipnetting with Dad

Kirsty Bowers taught a unit designed around the book Dipnetting with Dad by Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars.  The class read the book and talked about the things students knew and learned from the book. They discussed how indigenous people lived/still live and how it differs from most people. After reading the book they had a dipnetting demonstration and fished for balloons in a trough of water and got to try to carry a weighted sack to experience what it was like to carry fish home. The class visited Farwell Canyon. Students looked down from the bridge at various spots that would be used for dipping. While out there, students got to explore the pictographs and pick sage after learning how to make an offering to the land. Kirsty says it was amazing how the whole unit came together full of enriched experiences of Indigenizing the curriculum. It was perfect to be able to end the unit by gifting the students with a copy of the book for themselves. Many parents have contacted her to say thank you for the book and the learning experience for their children. 


Making Tea

First Nation Curriculum Teacher Dancing Water Sandy taught about Indigenous culture and learning through the making of tea at Tatla School. Principal Kim Ikebuchi says Dancing Water’s presence always brings joy and peace, and inspires the gratitude of students and staff. 

Medicine Gathering

Students from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary on a field trip taking part in traditional medicine gathering. traditional%20medicine%20gathering.jpg

Sweat House

Students from Nesika Elementary standing in a partially constructed sweat house.sweat.jpg

Warrior Song

Past Chief Roger William drumming a warrior song for the students of Naghtaneqed in honor of the Tsilhqot'in memorial day- Lhatsas?in.Roger%20Williams%20warrior%20songs.jpg


Enjoying friendship with a beautiful background.  Students from Nesika Elementary at Xatsull Heritage Village site.reconcilliation.jpg

Pit House

Students from Nesika Elementary sitting in the pit house at Xatsull Heritage Village site.pithouse.jpg

Medicine Pouches

A group of Nesika Elementary students constructing medicine pouches at the Xatsull Heritage Village site.medicine%20pouches.jpg

In the Movies

Chief Willie drumming a welcome song at the movie premier of "Portraits From a Fire" which was filmed locally and starred William Lulua- a student at Lake City Secondary


Orange Shirt Day Activity

Orange Shirt Day activity at Horse Lake Elementary. The students each created a patch on the quilt, as a commitment to the Truth & Reconciliation process.

Start of School Year with Knowledge Keeper

Dog Creek School was honoured to start the school year with Knowledge Keeper Harold leading the school in a smudge and the Men’s and Women’s Warrior songs. Band Counsel member Timothy and Education Coordinator Dave Hall brought the staff of Rosie Seymour Band School over for lunch and afternoon planning.Start%20School%20Year.jpg

Orange Shirt Day

The Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa sent Nesika Elementary t-shirts with unique indigenous artwork in recognition of the way the school has been celebrating First Nations learning and achievement. The school is proud of their good work in reconciliation and celebration.  Students wore their shirts for Orange Shirt Day 🧑.Girl%20-%20Orange%20shirt.jpg

Skin and Treat Moose Hide

Blaine Grinder presented Skyline Alternate School and Marie Sharpe Elementary students on how to skin and treat a moose hide.  The students received hands-on experience with the tools.

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