More than 1

Students learn about and experience aboriginal culture

More than 1,500 Kootenay students experienced Aboriginal awareness last week. Organized by School District 20’s (SD20) Aboriginal Education department, Aboriginal Awareness Week has been celebrated for the last six years. Taking place on Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace grounds, students flooded the area daily to learn about Aboriginal culture.

  • May. 24, 2011 1:00 p.m.

More than 1,500 Kootenay students experienced aboriginal awareness last week. Organized by School District 20’s (SD20) Aboriginal Education department, Aboriginal Awareness Week has been celebrated for the last six years.

Taking place on Selkirk College’s Mir Centre for Peace grounds, students flooded the area daily to learn about aboriginal culture.

“We try to provide as many students as possible bits on the culture,” Christine Marsh, an aboriginal education program teacher said.

She explained the program has continued to grow each year and what started as a learning activity for SD20 students has grown into a field trip for daycares and students out of the district as well.

Students rotated through stations, learning through hands-on activities, including traditional games, shield-making, fire-starting, making pitch medicine, smudging, pictographs, pine needle baskets and aninishinabe (clan system).

“We try and cover different parts of each aboriginal tribe,” Marsh said, noting students in the district belong to a variety.

Each student entered the large teepee on the grounds to make their own shield. They were able to choose one of the five Sinixt spirit animals to paint on it: frog, mountain goat, grizzly bear, snake, coyote or caribou.

“We talk to kids about why smudging was used,” Marsh said. “It’s usually used for purification and prayer.”

Each student was also able to take a smudging kit, which included tobacco, sweetgrass, cedar and sage.

Pitch medicine, which is made out of tree sap and Vaseline, can be used for cuts and scratches to help get rid of or prevent infections, as well as reduces scarring. Each student was given a small pot of the medicine to take home.

Traditional games the students learned were toe toss stick, the knee jump, kainsish and finger pull.

Pictographs, which are drawn pictures on a rock, were used to mark a hunting ground or experience, the students learned. Each participant was given the opportunity to draw their own pictographs on rocks.

To end the day, students were shown different ways to start fires by Chris Moransky, who has been practising the rituals for 30 years.

He showed them the technique for rubbing wood together, starting a fire with a bow drill and using a tinder bundle.

During his demonstration, students tried bannock (a fried bread) and juice.

Marsh said the preparation for the week starts way in advance and wouldn’t be possible without a ton of co-operation.

Demonstrators for the week included Murhi Kencayd, Kim Robertson, Chris Moransky, Laurine Oliver, Laura Paul, Taress Alexis, Angie Hart, Maggie Brown, Betty Offin and SD20 Cultural Co-ordinator Bonnie Vickers.

Just Posted

Cold water thrown on Castlegar community complex upgrades

Too much work with too little time to do it might derail application for millions in grants

Castlegar council set to rule on three retail cannabis proposals

Residents have until Dec. 27 to comment on the business proposals

West Kootenay police take 18 impaired drivers off the road

Eight drivers were criminally impaired, says Sgt. Badry from West Kootenay Traffic Services

Nelson-area man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

‘Naive approach’ to China at fault in Meng mess: Scheer

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on the Trudeau government to “unequivocally denounce any type of repercussions to Canadians on foreign soil.”

Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr is back in court today to seek changes to bail conditions.

B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

B.C. man linked to human remains probe gets absolute discharge on unrelated mischief count

Curtis Sagmoen was in Vernon Law Courts Dec. 13 for a mischief trial

Supreme Court upholds Canada’s right to reargue facts in assisted-dying case

Julia Lamb and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association are spearheading a challenge of the law

B.C. company facing several charges in 2017 chicken abuse case

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

Most Read