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Indigenous Learning and Culture

Indigenous Learning and Culture with IE Icon

We do not yet have equity of outcomes for Indigenous students as a group on key measures of student success. We are intentionally directing attention, resources, and effort to improve these outcomes. We will continue to examine our environments, structures, and practices to identify and address barriers to the success of Indigenous students. We are committed to continuing to strengthen relationships with First Nation communities and community partners. We will embed learning about Indigenous culture, perspectives, and language in the daily experience of learners in our schools. Some examples of the work of our plan are:

  • District-wide staff learning about Truth and Reconciliation including District Day (for all staff), learning series, Four Seasons of Reconciliation year-long course, other.
  • Intentional embedding of the First Peoples Principles of Learning by schools.
  • Increased visible language and culture across schools (Elders in schools, welcome signage, other)
  • Review of school libraries and resource collections and additional funding for Authentic First Peoples Resources
  • Recognizing cultural learning in community with graduation program IDS credits (local Independent Directed Study framework)
  • Expectation of raising the bar and narrowing the gap versus the racism of low expectations
  • Meaningful engagement of schools and district in Local Education Agreements (LEA) (regular meetings, frequent communication, data sharing, individual student learning plans, staff education on LEA purpose and commitments)

Keep scrolling to see how our district has been embracing indigenous learning and culture this year!

Rattle Making, Indigenous Day

Alexis Creek Elementary Junior Secondary

On Indigenous Day, students enjoyed making traditional rattles at Alexis Creek School.


Xatsull Heritage Site

Alexis Creek Elementary Junior Secondary

Our June 18th, we visited the Xatsull Heritage Site at Soda Creek. Roxanne gave as a tour and we learned a lot of things about the various plants and how they were used. We learned about the animals in their region. Animals such as the big horn sheep, and ground squirrels. Students listened to details and stories about the different shelters and pit houses on their site. Students enjoyed having the opportunity to explore the area.




Building Drums

Nesika Elementary

Grade 6s build drums alongside their language teachers every year at Nesika. They construct them and learn songs as part of their leaving ceremony celebration. Learning through story and artifacts (projects) provides an opportunity for connection to all creation and strengthen our connections to each other. Drumming and projects help ground our students and reconnects them to where they are from. Students feel pride in their efforts and accomplishments. Students achieve mastery and a feeling of connectiveness. This opportunity encourages all our intermediate students to feel a connection and sense of belonging to their school, peers, and community. Thank you to our friends William, Val, David from WLFN as well as Danikka, Denise, Wendy and Linda for supporting our learning. 


Lahal Tournament

Indigenous Education

On June 14th, classes from 150 Mile, Mountview, and Cataline took part in a three school lahal tournament.  Special thanks to the over 20 knowledge keepers that came and shared their expertise.  It was a great day with a Cataline team coming out the champions.  


Blanketing Residential School survivors

Cataline Elementary

Classes at Cataline Elementary School constructed quilts for residential school survivors.  On June 13th, classes along with the Orange Shirt Society hosted a blanketing ceremony for 4 survivors. Special thanks to Joan Gentles and Phyllis Webstad. It was a very powerful experience.  A big thank you to all the students and adults who took part in this act of reconciliation.  


Making Models of traditional Tsilhqot'in Villages

Alexis Creek Elementary Junior Secondary

K to 5 students have been learning about the traditional villages and houses build by the Tsilhqot'in peoples. Winter villages consisted of a large number of pit houses build near each other. Students worked in cooperative groups to make plasticine models of a traditional pit house village.



Trapping and Fur presentation at Forest Grove

Forest Grove Elementary

Students and staff were able to enjoy an informative presentation from Greg and Karen Pellerin. The expertise and examples were fascinating to witness. 


Indigenous Friendship Dance

Cataline Elementary

Cataline students were enriched with culture and history as Cheryl Chapman and Mike Retasket thrilled them with traditional Secwe̓pemc stories and dance. All students had the opportunity to learn and absorb the teachings passed on to them during an intimate and active engagement, where students were involved in drumming, singing, and dancing. A powerful day of learning for all.


Drum Making

Big Lake Elementary

Knowledge keepers from Denisiqi visited Big Lake School and showed another way to build hand drums. Students learned about the "natural handle" and many added extra lacing details to their drums to make them unique. Next steps include adding Indigenous artwork to the drums and learning a song. 



Indigenous Art and Pow Wow Dancer

Big Lake Elementary

Janelle from WLFN came back to her home territory this week to visit some schools in SD27. We learned about the history of Pow Wow Dancing, Pow Wow Regalia, and tried out some Pow Wow dancing. At the next Pow Wow event - students will be thinking to themselves "what story are the dancers telling?" Janelle also led students through an Indigenous Art project.



Deer Meat Smoke House & Smoking of the Meat

Naghtaneqed Elem/Junior

Elders taught students, parents and community members how to smoke deer meat in the school smoke house. Students learned how to cut meat and place it correctly in the smoke house in order to dry properly. They were taught how to start the fire and what kind of wood to use. 



Deer Meat Carving

Naghtaneqed Elem/Junior

Students, parents and community members learned how to carve up deer meat and smoke the meat.



Tanning Deer Hide

Tatla Lake Elem/Junior

We were invited to participate in a very interesting cultural day at Nagwuntl’oo school in Anahim Lake. Thank you to the elders for teaching us about the process of tanning deer hide. 



Powwow Dance

Tatla Lake Elem/Junior

We enjoyed having Janelle Alladina join us and Tsideldel School to teach us powwow dancing! Janelle is a proud Secwépemc (Shuswap) woman from T’exelc (Williams Lake Indian Band). Her father is former chief Willie Alphonse Jr, and her mother is Cree from Horse Lake. She has been dancing fancy shawl and jingle dress since she was 2 years old and was named the First Nations Role Model for School District #27. Janelle also sings on the hand drum, teaches basic pow wow dancing, does indigenous crafts, and Shuswap storytelling. She follows the powwow trail across all of BC and down into the USA in the summer and visits family for traditional ways of life in the fall. “Being able to share culture and dance has always been very important to me, especially to our younger generation.”


Bye Bye Fish Fry!

Anahim Lake Elem/Junior

Anahim Lake students watched salmon grow from eggs to alevin and finally to tiny fry. Our youngest kids took the wild and crazy ride down to Bella Coola and wished the baby fish a good voyage on their trip to the ocean. Bye, bye, fish fry! 



Traditional Singing

150 Mile Elementary

Mrs. Charley has taking to expanding the traditional teachings at 150 Mile Elementary. Using the previously made drums students are now learning traditional welcome songs and the songs of Lahal. Over the past few months students have learned how to keep their cadence in drumming to support the singing of the traditional songs. Students are now able to show the basic skills in the singing of traditional songs using drums. Mrs. Charley, now that the weather is warmer, takes many classes outside which has been super popular with the students.

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Field trip to the Nemiah Valley to attend cultural events at Naqhtaneqed School

Alexis Creek Elementary Junior Secondary

On May 16th, our students traveled to the Nemiah Valley and participated in stations to make cultural projects. The trip to and from Nemiah was full of wonderful sights such as rivers, valleys, forests, meadows, lakes, and wild horses, deer, Canada Geese, and a huge grizzly. Students enjoyed themselves at the rest stops as they had few minutes to explore the outdoor surroundings. When arriving at Naqhtaneqed School, we were greeted by the warm and friendly staff, students, and members of the community. The stations were well organized, and the projects were fun to make. Some of our students got the chance to visit with their families. The station teachers and elders were patient and caring to everyone. Staff and students enjoyed exploring the school and it's playground. We admired the greenhouse projects for they look amazing! The community hosted a wonderful feast for lunch for our school. We are grateful for for their generosity. We can't wait to visit again next year.


Young Indigenous Leaders sharing knowledge

Skyline Alternate School

Lucille Paul (a past Skyline student) came into the school to teach the youth how to create Lahal sticks and bones. Lucille was a natural leader while demonstrating patience, knowledge and kindness. We look forward to having Lucille and Louie back to share their knowledge with the school.
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Indigenous Drum Painting

Lac La Hache Elementary School

As a follow up to our earlier drum making session, the students participated in a a drum painting workshop lead by knowledge keepers Trish and Lydia from the Canim Lake band. The students were assisted by members of the Lac La Hache community who helped guide and encourage the students towards their final products. In the end, all students produced a personalized drum that they are excited to play at upcoming gatherings.


10 Steps to Creating a Trauma Informed School

Skyline Alternate

 Skyline had the privilege to have Ronda and Sara facilitators from the 10 Steps to Creating a Trauma Informed School (MNP Consulting) attend a day session at Skyline Alternate for students, and staff.  Everyone laughed, engaged in learning, had quality discussion and ate.  It was a wonderful day for everyone involved.   Thank you for joining our team for the day Ronda and Sara.  



Drum Making

Cataline Elementary

With the support from FNEC and the guidance of Mrs. Bauerochse and Mrs. Menakian, Cataline Elementary Indigenous Support Workers, grade 6 students have begun making their drums in preparation for their leaving ceremony. Each grade 6 students will be gifted a drum upon completion of their grade 6 year, while also gifting a set a drums to the school for future students to use in our continual commitment to Indigenous learning at Cataline School. 



Drumming Outdoors at Cataline

Cataline Elementary

Cataline students continue to include drumming as part of their school routine. Continuing with morning drumming, led by our intermediate students, students are familiar with the “Welcome Song” as introduced by Mrs. Charley. During the third term at Cataline, Mrs. Charley continues to share her teachings and knowledge of the drum with the intermediate classes, while fostering their drumming, singing, and dancing within our beautiful outdoor learning environment.



Making Rattles with Grade 5 Students

Nesika Elementary

Grade 5 students at Nesika had the opportunity to learn about making rattles with knowledge keepers from Williams Lake First Nation. The students showed lots of grit, determination and resourcefulness. We can't wait to see how this project turns out!



Creating a Culture of Equity and Inclusion

Mile 108 Elementary

As we move through spring we are excited to celebrate growth and our accomplishments through the lens of equity and inclusion. Our Term 3 theme is Truth. Truth is to know all of the Seven Sacred teachings and understand how these values allow us to welcome everyone into our circle. Each students' creative design communicates their understanding and commitment to truth and is proudly displayed on our whole-school bulletin board. 


Lehal Practice

150 Mile Elementary School

Mrs. Irene Charley working with a Grade 5/6 class practicing the traditional game of Lehal including the traditional songs and clapping that go with each round. Students were very excited to learn the rules and songs and participated fully with lots of smiles and laughs as the game progressed.  150 Mile will be part of the planned tournament in June.



Teachers Teaching Teachers

Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior School

Anyone lucky enough to work in this school district recognizes how terrific our professional development offerings are. Teachers and staff at our school invited Anahim Lake's Nugwant'loo School staff to join us for a Pro D workshop brought directly to our school. "Inspiring Oral Language Through Loose Parts" was a hit with all ten educators. Jody Chamberlain, our Primary Teacher used what she learned with her students just two days later and they dove right in!

Powwow Dance Club

Marie Sharpe Elementary

We are so privileged to host the district powwow dance club here at Marie Sharpe.  Every Thursday we are graced with the presence and teachings of Cecil Sheena. With the support of Grant Gustafson from the board office and funding through FNEC, students across the district are able to access this amazing program for free.

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"Learning Lahal" Project at Nesika with Mrs. Jack

Nesika Elementary

Tsilhqot’in language teacher Mrs. Jack is teaching all 269 students at Nesika about Lahal. During her Culture and Language blocks, Mrs. Jack (assisted by Indigenous Support Worker, Mrs. Guichon) is teaching students about the traditional game of Lahal as well as beginning a project for every student in the school to have their own sticks. What an undertaking! We can't wait to see how these turn out and watch students play and engage with each other.  



Growing Community - Welcoming Spring

Nesika Elementary

Thank you Mrs. Swampy for sharing photos of Ms. Murphy teaching culture and language classes outdoors. Welcome Spring - our sense of community growing in (and outside of) the school. Kukwstsetsemc!



Hoop Dancing at Nesika

Nesika Elementary

Francis Johnson was back at Nesika in April teaching Hoop Dancing. These Kindergarteners are first timers and they did SO well! Thank you Francis and Alita Johnson for sharing celebrations of culture and tradition with our students!


Powwow Dance Club

Indigenous Education Department

School District 27 is hosting a powwow dance group Thursdays after school at Marie Sharpe Elementary.  We would like to thank Cecil Sheena for sharing his knowledge and bringing the gift of dance to the students.  The lessons this week included the history of powwow, the teachings of the individual dances, and learning the first few steps.  Lots of big smiles.


Beautiful Addition to Skyline

Skyline Alternate School

Skyline staff and students returned from Spring Break to an amazing space.   The Wellness Circle was installed over the break and the students are already planning on adding flowers, medicine plants and would like to utilize the space for drumming and smudges.  


Ms. Goodliffe's Mitten Project

Chilcotin Road Elementary

Ms. Goodliffe's grade three and four class had an opportunity to craft a multi-stage winter mitten project, beginning in the fall and concluding in the winter. The design was influenced by Leah Marie Dorin's "Christmas Mittens," incorporating beadwork featuring a poppy to commemorate Indigenous Remembrance Day. This emblem was then skillfully hand-stitched onto a wool mitten, symbolizing a connection to the Métis Nation.


Pine Needle Baskets

Naghtaeqed Elementary/Junior 

Creating pine baskets from large pine needles from Kamloops. The pine needles are wrapped with sinew thread. The process takes a long time, students are patient and very engaged in their basket making!



Cultural Learning

Big Lake Elementary

Bruce Baptiste from Denisiqi visited Big Lake School to work with the intermediate students. Bruce shared the smudge ceremony. Part of our learning was connected to the elements: air , water, earth, and fire.



Visit by Kukpi7 Sellars

150 Mile Elementary

Kukpi7 Sellars came to visit 150 Mile Elementary as a published author. Kukpi7 Sellars read his books Dip Netting with Dad and Hockey with Dad to Mrs. Coulombe's Grade 1/2 class and Mrs. Davis's Grade 3/4 class as part of their 'Read-a-thon". The children were very excited to meet a published author and ask questions about things he experienced on his writing journey.


Beautiful Ribbon Skirt & Shirt Making

Skyline Alternate

Skyline youth are engaged in creating amazing ribbon skirts and shirts.  The youth chose the colors that spoke to them.  They are producing amazing creations. 


Drumming and Lahal

150 Mile Elementary

Mrs. Irene Charley works with grade 3/4 students on how to drum and play Lahal. Learning the rules of the traditional Lahal game is an ongoing process at the school. What is new, is the students starting the game play with a short drumming on the newly crafted drums at 150 Mile House Elementary. Thank you WLFN for all the support in helping our students and staff make our school drum set!


Encouraging Kindness with Monique Gray Smith

Nesika Elementary

During our Pink Shirt Assembly at Nesika, we participated in a livestream with Canadian Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith. She read from her books, “When We Are Kind” and “You Hold Me Up”. She spoke about the importance of focusing on all of the ways we can demonstrate care and kindness for ourselves, each other, and our planet. What an uplifting lesson!



Classroom Elder

Nesika Elementary

At Nesika this year we are so fortunate to have Cecilia DeRose, esteemed and adored Secwepemc elder and language keeper, visiting Mrs. Testawich's grade 3/4 class as classroom elder. She has been visiting on Wednesday afternoons, and recently joined the class to help with bead work and share Friendship Soup on Pink Shirt Day. Sharing food is a way to show we care about each other.  



Learning about Indigenous Winter Clothing

Chilcotin Road Elementary School

Mrs. Routtu's K/1 class made beautiful slippers and mittens in learning how to make Indigenous Winter Clothing.

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Teepee Gingerbread Structures

Naghatneqed Elementary Junior Secondary School

Students designed teepee gingerbread structures in pairs and individually. Students baked and decorated their artwork.


Building a Culture of Caring and Collaboration - Through the Lens of Courage

Mile 108 Elementary

In term 2 our school theme is focused on Courage and Generosity. Through a school wide art project and ongoing classroom activities across the winter months we are focusing on building a culture of caring and collaboration through the lens of COURAGE - having the strength to do the right thing always. Mile 108 Elementary is looking toward the seasonal calendar, the circle of courage and the Seven Sacred Teachings as a framework to develop our school-wide focus areas to strengthen our school community and overall sense of belonging. Pop in and see our bulletin board that showcases student artwork - below is a small sampling of our creative design. 



Smudging Ceremony

Alexis Creek Elementary Junior Secondary School

One of our senior students has volunteered to teach the other students about smudging. We began our morning by having her lead us in a ceremony.  Individuals, who wanted to, were smudged and then we smudged the school. Here she is smudging the rooms in the school. Next week, we will smudge at the beginning of each week so we can begin our week in a good way. 


Traditional Drumming

150 Mile Elementary

After a busy day of drum making with several members of the WLFN community, the students of 150 Mile Elementary were treated to a performance highlighting traditional drumming and singing techniques. Danikka, Valerie and William from WLFN plus Irene and Gerald Charley drummed and sang for the students sharing several traditional songs.


Drum Making

150 Mile Elementary

150 Mile Elementary had the good fortune of having several members of WLFN share with us their knowledge and skill in the art of traditional drum making.  Danikka, Valerie, William and Gerald joined our regular staff for the day to share stories and show their skills working side by side with our students to build 30 drums for the school. These drums will remain at the school and be used in future language and culture classes to give students the opportunity to learn traditional drumming and singing.


Learning About Tsilhqot'in Winter Clothing

Chilcotin Road Elementary

Loretta Jeff-Combs and Peyal Laceese from Tl'esqox First Nation, came to teach Mrs. Routtu's K/1 class about tradition Tsilhqot'in winter clothing.


Tanning A Deer Hide

Naghtaneqed Elem/Junior School

Students enjoyed being taught how to tan a deer hide by Sharon Baptiste. All students worked on the hide - it is not as easy as you would think!


Thomas-Dueck Pow Wow

Columneetza Junior

The purpose of hosting a Pow Wow was to decolonize and indigenize the school culture and curriculum at Columneetza with the intention of creating opportunities to expose students to traditional Pow Wow protocols. This event was in collaboration with Columneetza First Nations Department and SD27 District Indigenous Education Department. This holistic experience of learning from Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Drummers and Dancers is grounded in experiential learning, making this an inclusive and welcoming activity for all students. This activity supports our Indigenous and non-Indigenous students’ sense of self, family, community, and connection to culture. We hosted a full day event for Columneetza students, students from SD27 as well as some community schools. A special thank you to Chief Willie Sellars for his Welcome to the Territory and dancing, to David Archie for the Welcome Song and dancing, to Amy Sandy for the Opening Prayer, to Colin Stonechild for being our Master of Ceremonies, to Melem-st'ye Whyte for being our Floor Director and bringing the Northern Tribez Drummers, and to Brent Edgar and the Quanta Mountain Drummers.  We had around 1000 additional people through Columneetza for the Pow Wow and it was a fantastic day! 



Courage & Generosity

Mile 108 Elementary

As we follow the seasonal calendar our school wide focus this term is on courage. All our students are contributing an art piece in the spirit of the bear that reflects their commitment and understanding of the importance of being brave and doing what is right. Students are exploring the concept of courage by showing strength in persisting through the challenge of learning something new. With time and patience students are practicing the ancient art of Metis finger weaving. Students are learning about the cultural significance of the colours of the Metis sash and the protocols around the use of the sash. While weaving we are sharing stories about bravery and courage in the face of adversity and the power of generosity in gifting your creation.


Indigenous Story Telling

Lac La Hache Elementary

The staff and students greatly enjoyed and appreciated Canim Lake Knowledge Keepers Mike and Trish sharing with us a number of songs, stories how to play Lehal and it's cultural significance among indigenous nations. Their honesty, openness and expertise was powerful and we are looking forward to having them join us again for more learning.

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Poetry Writing

Horsefly Elementary/Junior

Students at Horsefly explore Indigenous culture by writing for the poetry contest. 


Powwow 2024 at Lake City Secondary

100 Mile Elementary

100 Mile Elementary school, Grades 4, 6 & 7 students attended a Pow Wow at LCSS in Williams Lake. Our school was invited to witness a celebration of Indigenous Culture. Each student was notified of the protocols and had pre-lessons on how to show respect and participation while there. The purpose is to gather a celebrate with Signing, Drumming and Dancing to honor our Indigenous peoples ways of knowing. To promote Truth and Reconciliation within our district with our students.


Learning The Men's Traditional Powwow Dance

Cataline Elementary

Over the last couple of weeks, our youngest students at Cataline Elementary have been actively learning and engaging in the history and tradition of the Men's Traditional Powwow Dance. With the help of our Culture and Language Teacher, Mrs. Charley, and a Local Knowledge Keeper, Gerry Charley, students have been exploring the traditional dress (highly decorated regalia), music, and movements of the dance. Students have used this time to learn and reflect upon the origins of the powwow ceremony, while actively participating in the dancing. 


Winter Warm Up

Nesika Elementary

A snowy day treat of herbal tea and bannock from Ms. Murphy our Secwepemc Language and Culture teacher, and Mrs. Swampy, our Indigenous Support Worker for all our students. They took time to explain how they made both the tea and the bannock. Kukstemc ladies for warming bellies and hearts! IMG_6503_holly%20zurak.jpeg


Drumming and Playing Lahal

Chilcotin Road Elementary

Mrs. Jack drumming and playing Lahal with Mrs. Hutchinson's class.


Learning about Powwow

Nesika Elementary

In Secwepemc class today with the incredible Ms. Murphy, where students learn about how Pow Wows are important cultural events that require specific etiquette, including how to ensure you are showing respect to the dancers and organizers. Kukstsémc for creating a safe space for questions and excitement!



Powwow Fun

Skyline Alternate School

Thank you to Columneetza for hosting a Powwow for all to enjoy.  Skyline youth participated and enjoyed the event.  



Students Create Dreamcatchers

Forest Grove Elementary

Mr.'s Dahl's 2/3 class learned the significance of dreams in Indigenous culture and created individual dreamcatchers.  


Story Telling

Dog Creek Elementary/Junior

Portraits From A Fire, starring actor William Magnus Lulua visited students at Dog Creek to discuss what it was like to be part of a storytelling motion picture. Students viewed the movie provided by Criterion On-Demand (found on our staff portal on the district website) and then spoke to William about what it was like to be a part of such a huge storytelling event. They had these conversations over a casual game of chess. IMG_9036_Dancing%20Water%20Sandy.jpeg

Dance and Lahal

150 Mile Elementary

Irene and Gerry Charley were at 150 Mile introducing the students in all grades to traditional dance and also teaching the students the basics of Lahal. Students really appreciated the opportunity to move about the classroom dancing with drum music and picked up the basic skills of Lahal quickly. 


Students Treated to Trapping Presentations

Horse Lake Elementary

To kick off the new year, Greg and Karen Pellerin and Jane Schattenkirk visited Horse Lake Elementary, treating our students to a presentation on trapping.  Classes learned about box traps, cubby traps and snares and how these different traps work for different animals.  Students learned about examples of what traps can do and how dangerous they can be, and how to remain safe if they encounter them.   The presenters also brought some of the old leg hold traps that were once used and are now banned. 

Students learned about the different lures used to attract animals and the use of different plants for  improving health.  They handled sage, balsam bark, cedar, juniper, and bear grease, all of which are used for healing ailments.  Finally, the students were able to touch sample pelts from a black bear, wolf, coyote, cougar, bobcat, lynx, rabbit, weasels, chipmunks, raccoon, foxes, skunk, river otters and beavers.


Elder Posters

Columneetza Jr. Secondary

Columneetza was able to proudly display the new district elder poster series. Posters were created in collaboration with 21 local elders from the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, and Dakelh Nations. The seven teachings are guiding principles in the collaboration towards restoration of the cultural values and beliefs.


Sharing Salmon Trip with FNEC

SD27 Indigenous Education

At the request of SD 27 First Nations Education Committee, Teacher Nara Riplinger presented to the committee on the 3 day Salmon Trip which takes place each Fall with Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre as the home base and trips out to sites on the watershed, the Quesnel River Research Centre, and to local ranch and industrial sites. Students interact with and learn from First Nations knowledge keepers, Scout Island staff, SD 27 staff, researchers, and local ranchers to understand the role of salmon as a keystone species, their environment, and reclamation efforts. An important part of the trip is listening to the stories and experience of First Nations people as the caretakers of the land, water, and salmon the students are learning about. Nara thanked FNEC as a supporter of the trip. 

Chilcotin Road to Tl'esqox

SD27 Indigenous Education

Teacher Jennifer Routtu made a presentation to First Nations Education Committee to share Chilcotin Road Elementary School's trip to Tl'esqox to learn about traditional pit houses and Tsilhqot'in culture. Chilcotin Road School appreciates the support of FNEC to make this learning experience possible. 


Exploring the Witness Blanket

Skyline Alternate School

Skyline has been focusing on “Exploring the Blanket” and we viewed the documentary “Picking Up The Pieces” by Carey Newman. We discussed what it means to bear witness. We have been watching the documentary and the school has created a year-long blanket of our school and activities. The focus of the Skyline blanket is “the Good the Bad and the Fun” of Skyline.  The school enjoyed the visit to TRU to see and exploring the blanket.   There was lots of learning and inquiry.   Please stop by Skyline and visit our blanket.  

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Learning about Indigenous Cultural Traditions

Tatla Lake Elementary

Elder and and Cultural Wellness Worker for Yunesit’in, Dorothy Myers visited us to teach us about smudging.  We learned that it is a tradition, common to many Indigenous People, which involves the burning of one or more medicines gathered from earth.  We are grateful to learn and grow in our understanding of indigenous cultural traditions and gain respect for these practices through the monthly teachings by knowledge keepers such as Dorothy.  

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Decolonizing the Library at Columneetza

Columneetza Elementary

Browsing for non-fiction books just became easier for Williams Lake middle school students!   To decolonize the organization of its library collection, Columneetza, along with a few other schools in School District 27, has moved away from the Dewey system.  The books are now grouped by category, and shelves are arranged to better display the collection’s holdings.  The bookstore-style non-fiction section is already proving successful; Columneetza has already seen an increase in its non-fiction loans. 


Hand Drum Stick Making

150 Mile Elementary

Having purchased all the supplies, Mrs. Charley is beginning the process of making hand drum sticks with the students. This collaborative effort will result in a class set of hand made drum sticks for the school to keep. This project is the initial step in a greater project to create a class set of drums and drums sticks for the school. The drum making kits will arrive in the Spring and involve more elders in their construction/assembly. 


Forest Grove makes medicine bags with Eliza Archie Memorial School at Tsqescen First Nation.

Forest Grove Elementary

Students in the intermediate classes visited Eliza Archie Memorial School to learn from staff and students how to make indigenous medicine bags. Thank-you Tsqescen for the hospitality! 


Mountview Medicine Bags

Mountview Elementary

All Mountview students enjoyed making medicine bags and learning about their uses. Students learned about the process to make the bags, what items they might want to include, and what some of the medicines are used for. 

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Pelltéteq'em and Cedar in December

Nesika Elementary

Pelltéteq'em - "This is the month when the days get longer. The Secwepemc were happy and they drummed and danced. They fixed up their winter homes real good."

Ms. Murphy gathered this melámen/medicine to share with our students so they could share with their kwesélkten/families. Cedar/ qwekwtkwellp is one of our medicines used in our smudge but can also be used in tea, or you can boil it in a pot to clean our air. One teaching Ms. Murphy received from the Vancouver area was that there are two sides of the cedar. The darker side is usually flipped up during funerals etc. and the lighter side is flipped up during celebrations.

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Weaving Baskets

Mile 108 Elementary

This month's focus has been on gathering food and medicine. All classes participated in discussions about harvesting plants and medicines and protocols around each. This was paired with basket projects. Younger students practiced weaving and created placemats and the older students had the opportunity to create ribbon heart baskets or reed baskets. All projects took time and patience, and the finished product was beautiful! 


Students Take the Lead

Cataline Elementary

With guidance by Mrs. Charley, and much practice with their classroom teachers, Ms. Hopkins and Ms. Bonnell, students opened the Cataline Elementary Winter Celebration assembly with the Welcome Song and the Women's Warrior Song. Mr. Favelle was also present to join in with the drumming. 

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Bannock Day

100 Mile Elementary

Students in Mrs. Dixon’s class made bannock. Bannock is an Indigenous food. A pre-lesson was taught in the classroom about the background behind Bannock. Each student wrote out their recipe and shared their knowledge with parents at home. Each student was able to take some bannock home to share with their families. The following week, Mrs. Dixon then collaborated with parents to donate their time and resources to make 140 pieces for hot lunch program and also some bannock was put in the staff room for staff to enjoy. Everyone in the school enjoyed a piece of bannock and we now call it Bannock Day. We are looking forward to incorporating more classes and having another Bannock Day. Our grade 6 & 7 classes are excited to share their knowledge with other students and help mentor more cooking classes. 

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Preparing Deer for Feast Day

Dog Creek Elementary

Students are processing a deer in preparation for a community feast. They prepared the meat for the drying racks. They cut meat for stewing. Also, they prepared the roasts and ribs for pit cooking. 

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Indigenous Medicine Making

Lac La Hache Elementary

The students enjoyed learning how to make traditional balms and ointments using natural ingredients found in our backyard. A big thank you to Michelle Francis from Yunesit'in for coming all the way out to our school to serve as our knowledge keeper. 

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Secwépemc Language Course 

District Pro-D

Cariboo-Chilcotin School District is encouraging all staff to participate in this opportunity to learn Secwépemc language. The course registration for any SD 27 staff member, regardless of role, is at no cost to the employee. 


Cataline Quilts for Residential School Survivors

Cataline Elementary

Mrs. Sache's Gr 1/2 class teamed up with experienced quilters to make a gift for a residential school survivor. The quilt is part of a larger project from the Orange Shirt Society to gift every survivor across Canada a quilt. So far, they have handed out 4,000 but still have another 35,000 to go. Mrs. Sache's class teamed up with Ms. Riley/Mr Armstrong's Gr 5/6 class to get the work done. The quilt was presented to Phyllis Webstad on Nov 28th. Phyllis hopes that one day the quilt will return to Cataline with a survivor so they can share their own story. Photos are credited to Williams Lake Tribune. 


Traditional Harvesting

150 Mile Elementary

Our classes enjoyed a presentation by Barb Wycotte of WLFN on traditional harvesting and medicines in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Mrs. Wycotte shared stories of harvesting and recipes for making various medicines, preserves, and salves.


Horsefly River Salmon

Big Lake Elementary

Big Lake students spent the day with Horsefly School learning about the importance of salmon to indigenous peoples and the salmon lifecycle. 


Monday Morning Welcome

Lake City Secondary

Thanks to Rick Favelle for starting our week off with drumming and offerings for students and staff to smudge. 


Truth & Reconciliation is More Than One Day a Year

100 Mile Elementary

This week at 100 Mile, we hosted a week of events. Students began by inscribing their names on orange hearts to leave their mark as part of the school, but also to remember the innumerable children that were forcibly taken away to residential schools and never returned. 

On Tuesday, Cheryl Chapman and Mike Retasket spent the day with us teaching the primary students the Deer Dance, and the intermediate students a song. After lunch, students and staff walked around the field behind banners stating Every Child Matters, singing and and drumming. The day wrapped up with speeches, stories, and song & dance. As we danced and sat in circle, we were graced by the presence of an eagle - a good omen according to Indigenous belief.

Wednesday saw us treated to the special talents of Spirit Carver Dean. He spent the day creating beautiful pieces of wood art which we then shared with our guests from Forest Grove Elementary and Eliza Archie Memorial School. To top things off, he gifted us with a beautiful mate to go with the wolf that is currently on the wall in our entryway.

On Thursday, School District 27 students (over 1000!) made their way to the Stampede Grounds in Williams Lake for a final morning of stories, sharing, and activities all centred on Truth & Reconciliation.

This week was a way for us to show that Truth and Reconciliation is not about just one token day. Each day we have the opportunity to take steps on this journey and we look forward to seeing where our school will go next.


Alexis Creek Students Sign at Orange Shirt Ceremony

Alexis Creek Elementary

Students from Alexis Creek School sing Chilcotin honor songs led by Annette Frank.


A Week of Truth Telling

Columneetza Jr. Secondary

Each day in the week leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we announced truths and a quote about reconciliation to acknowledge and recognize the impacts of residential schools on indigenous peoples in Canada.  There were short videos each day for classroom teachers to play to follow the announcements.  Monday morning there was smudging in the courtyard with Ms. McCartney and Ms. Billyboy, Tuesday Ms. McCartney and Ms. Billyboy brewed some herbal teas at the window in the foyer that was harvested by elders, Wednesday, students brought drums to Room 170 to participate in drumming with Ms. Billyboy, and Thursday, we encouraged everyone to wear an Orange Shirt as an act of reconciliation. On September 28th some students and teachers also went down to the Stampede Grounds for the 10th Annual Orange Shirt Day ceremony, activities and presentations.  


Orange Shirt Day

150 Mile Elementary

At 150 Mile Elementary we held a school assembly which entailed a history of what residential schooling was all about, and the connection to Orange Shirt Day. This finished with a minute of silence to honor the survivors and missing children. To finish the day, we did a school walk to signify the "bringing home of the children".   


Truth and Reconciliation Week at Nesika

Nesika Elementary

Last week, throughout the week at Nesika teachers pulled from a variety of sources to teach about Truth and Reconciliation, including indigenous-authored story books, the Spirit Bear's guide, and the NCTR website resources. Many classes constructed displays of their learning throughout the school. 

  • On Monday, we put out a call to our school community to donate back any outgrown Orange Shirts. All students were able to be outfitted with a new or gently used shirt. 
  • On Tuesday, a few primary classes signed in to a live read aloud with Indigenous author David A. Robertson "When We Were Alone". 
  • On Wednesday the whole school participated in an Orange Shirt Assembly where Ms. Murphy led storytelling and Mr. Brown read aloud to students "You Matter" by Christian Robinson. 
  • Tuesday and Wednesday intermediate students made orange shirts as part of a collaborative art installation on the fence for the OSD event. Students in Ms. Murphy's Culture classes also got to construct (sewn) fabric hearts filled with sage and had the opportunity to participate in a smudge with her and Mrs. Swampy. 
  • On Thursday six classes, (Testawich, Routtu, Frost, Nasuszny, Svechnikov and Easthope) along with support staff and principals travelled to the Orange Shirt Day Event at the Stampede Grounds to participate in the OSD event.      


Equine Assisted Learning

Tatla Lake Elementary

Tatla Lake Elementary & Jr. Secondary welcomed Michelle Francis on Orange Shirt Day to share with students a brief history of residential schools and to teach them the role communication plays in Reconciliation.  Students learned about verbal and non-verbal communication and how horses communicate non-verbally with their ears, body movement, eyes, nose, noises, tail, and feet. Students worked collaboratively to complete tasks with the horses and each other and developed self-confidence, patience & emotional expression with one another. Equine Assisted Learning assists in developing skills such as emotional regulation, empathy, impulse control, building self-confidence, patience & learning emotional expression with another.  Thank you Michelle for travelling to Tatla Lake to share your knowledge with us.


Weekly Drumming and Smudging

Lake City Secondary

A huge thank you to Rick Favelle for starting each week off with drumming and an opportunity to smudge. Many students and staff are taking this opportunity to purify, spiritually cleanse, get rid of negative energy and be blessed; whatever it means to them personally. 


Harvest Feast and Brushing Off

Skyline Alternate School

Skyline held a Harvest Feast, with lots of food and conversation. The students invited family and community members to enjoy the feast. After the feast, Skyline welcomed Mr David Archie to welcome the students to the new school year. David spoke, sang, and brushed off all students and staff that wanted to be brushed off. All students were receptive and welcoming to our guests.  


Students Help Celebrate our New Secwepemc Welcome Sign

Lake City Secondary

Big thanks to Smith Timber Works for creating our new Secwepemc welcome sign.


Learning About Dipnetting

Chilcotin Road Elementary

Happy to have Norm Diablo share knowledge about salmon dipnetting and how the fish is prepared for eating.  Mrs. Routtu's K/1 realized how big the net actually is.


Lahal at Columneetza with Bruce & Gary

Columneetza Jr. Secondary

Bruce Baptiste and Gary Stieman visited Columneetza on October 19th to teach students how to play Lahal as part of our Cultural Calendar!  It was fun and competitive and everyone won a prize this time.  After playing, students and staff had the opportunity for a smudge outside with Gary.  We are all looking forward to playing Lahal again with more students and even tougher competition!  Many thanks to local knowledge keepers Bruce and Gary and to Denisiqi for their support.


Likely Lynx Mural

Likely Elementary

Last year we focused on the 6 Core Competencies through an intensive study on what we can learn from the 6 animals in an Indigenous picture book called the “Six Cedar Trees” by Margot Landahl and Celestine Aleck. Students are regularly expected to connect their learning to life experiences, new skills, stories, and friends. These connections make learning deeper. The idea of these  ‘learning links’ and the animal native to our area, the Lynx, was too meaningful to pass up, so our new nick-name was adopted: LIKELY LYNX!    

  • BEAR teaches us to reflect on feelings, protect our identities, and develop personal awareness and responsibility. 
  • BEAVER reminds us to collaborate and respect the environment and others in our pursuit of social responsibility. 
  • WOLF teaches us to share feelings and communicate with care. 
  • ORCA reminds us to honour our family and acknowledge our strengths as we develop positive personal & cultural identities. 
  • SALMON teaches us to solve problems peacefully while being critical thinkers. 
  • RAVEN reminds us to consider all perspectives to develop our creative thinking.      

Students reflected on the animals they share characteristics with and what animal traits they could work on and set goals for. To complete our yearlong learning the students completed a mural in honour of the Six Cedar animals, as well as their growth in the 6 Core Competencies and Social Emotional Learning.  For the mural, students started by cutting out the plywood circles and sanding them so they would be ready to paint. Students worked in multi-aged groups and used indigenous artist inspiration to create their animals on the boards. We proudly revealed the Likely Lynx mural on the final day of school to students, parents and the community!


Salmon Run

Horsefly Elementary

The students showed Big Lake students the Horsefly River and the active spawning beds.


Ms. William's Gr 1/2 Language Learning - Chilcotin Language 

Cataline Elementary

Ms. William’s grade 1 & 2 students are enthusiastically learning the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) Language by utilizing the TPR (Total Physical Response) method of learning. The students understand when spoken to in the Chilcotin Language and can follow the commands given in the language. They are able to speak the commands and be understood by the teacher and other classmates.  

TPR is a method of teaching language or vocabulary concepts by using physical movement to react to verbal input. The process mimics the way that infants learn their first language, and it reduces student inhibitions and lowers stress. The purpose of TPR is to create a brain link between speech and action to boost language and vocabulary learning. 


Starting the School Year in a Good Way

Nesika Elementary

Nesika Secwepemctsín Language teacher Danikka Murphy and Williams Lake First Nation Cultural Coordinator David Archie sang and drummed in students on the first morning back to school. Singing loud and proud helped our students feel grounded, connected and empowered. Thank you, merci, kukwstsétselp.


Start of Year Smudge

150 Mile Elementary

Mr. David Archie joined our school to talk about the history of a smudging ceremony, including what a smudge consists of, and why it is performed. David then performed a smudge for the whole school and sang a traditional song about gratitude. 


Secwepemc Medicinal Plants Walk

Likely Elementary

The whole school went on a walk along the Shuswap trail at Gavin Lake. The purpose of our walk was to learn about the local plants and how they were used by the Indigenous peoples. The students spent time with their learning groups, and as we came across an informational sign, they had tasks they had to do to demonstrate their learning. Students took turns with the following task: recording the name of the plant both in English and the Secwepemc language, collecting a sample of the local plant, recording the indigenous use of the plant, as well as completing a sketch. Students were engaged and focus on their tasks and loved the challenge of collecting a sample.


Forest Grove Sees Spirit Carver Dean

Forest Grove

Forest Grove students were fortunate to be invited to see Spirit Carver Dean at 100 Mile Elementary. Thank you for the wonderful gift for our school! 


Forest Grove Indigenous Art Contest

Forest Grove

The winners of our Indigenous art contest were inspired by Monique Gray Smith's book " I Hope". Students standing with their fingerprint art next to our ISW, Kyla Miller.


Orange Shirt Day

Lake City Secondary

Mr. Hutchinson displays a wooden 'poster' that his Woodwork classes made as part of an Orange Shirt Day project.


LCS Drumming and Smudge

Lake City Secondary

Students and staff participate in an Orange Shirt drumming and smudge to start the day!


Columneetza - Curriculum Implementation Day with Jo Chrona

Columneetza Jr. Secondary

Columneetza Staff were a part of the Curriculum Implementation Day and got the opportunity to hear author Jo Chrona speak about the Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 9th Professional Standard. Staff had many small group discussions around the intersections of indigenous and anti-racist education and why this work is necessary for all staff.   


Weyktp - to all Columneetza Students on the First Day Back to School

Columneetza Jr. Secondary

Kukpi7 Sellars and David Archie from Williams Lake First Nation were joined by Freddy Johnson from Esk'etemc First Nation and together they drummed Columneetza students into school on the first day back. Kukpi7 Sellars and Freddy Johnson also welcomed Grade 7s at the beginning of the Grade 7 assembly and played a welcoming song on their drums for our newest Falcons. It was an honour and pleasure for all of our students and staff to experience the powerful rhythm of the three drums played by three wonderful people in our community. Kukwstec-kuc (we thank you) Kukpi7 Sellars, David Archie and Freddy Johnson! 


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