Cumberland students exposed to aboriginal culture

Dreamcatchers, button blankets and woven sashes are important pieces of aboriginal culture in Canada.

JACKIE FRANK poses with one of her button blankets and Grade 8 student Taylor Eldridge.

JACKIE FRANK poses with one of her button blankets and Grade 8 student Taylor Eldridge.

Dreamcatchers, button blankets and woven sashes are important pieces of aboriginal culture in Canada, and Cumberland Junior School students recently had a chance to learn all about these and other aspects of aboriginal culture and history during a day-long Aboriginal Day celebration at the school.

Every student in the school had a chance to participate in six workshops that touched on aboriginal culture from near and far.

Presentations included bannock with Carrie Dumont, Nuu-chah-nulth whaling with Roland Ginger, Lahal with Vanessa Isaac, cedar with Suzanne Camp, games and toys with Jackie Lever, Métis weaving with Tonia Larson-Gagne, Northwest Coast art with John Powell, drumming with Mavis Aubichon, Morrisseau art with Gail Martindale, K’ómoks history with April Shopland, salmon barbecue with Cory Frank, dreamcatchers with Ann Billie, medicine wheel with Erin Brillon and button blankets with Jackie Frank.

Leadership students at Cumberland Junior School helped organize the day, and Nala’atsi students helped prepare lunch for aboriginal students, staff and presenters.

Last year, School District 71’s aboriginal education department held Louis Riel Day at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School, and aboriginal education teacher Jackie Lever says they wanted to do something similar this year, but the event soon expanded to include more than Métis history.

“Once we started talking to Gina Taylor and Carrie Dumont (at Cumberland Junior), they wanted something that was aboriginal as well,” she said. “We decided we wanted to find presenters to showcase from around Canada. We have a lot of presenters this year. What started out as just a celebration for Métis, we’ve made a whole aboriginal celebration.”

Leading up to Aboriginal Day, Cumberland Junior School put up a Métis display all week, and students did activities every day in their advisory group.

“We haven’t gotten to Cumberland Junior much, so we thought what an opportunity this was to go to a secondary school where their curriculum touches on aboriginal history and culture and show the students these things hands-on,” said Lever. “It’s a lived history. It’s not something that’s just in books.”

Lever felt Aboriginal Day was a great chance to bring the community together.

“I’m very excited we get the opportunity to go into schools and bring in community members, as well as our aboriginal education staff, as well as members of the Cumberland Junior staff, to bring everyone in and have that celebration is very exciting,” she said. “Of course, I’m always excited about Louis Riel Day, too, and talking about Métis culture. This gives us an opportunity to talk about our history and to feel proud and to have students of aboriginal and Métis culture feel proud.”

Roland Ginger spoke to students about Nuu-chah-nulth whaling, sharing information about the Ginger side of his family. He brought items such as clothing, bentwood boxes he made himself, trade beads and dentalium shells, which were a form of trade.

“It’s an oral history, our songs and stories we told at potlatches or to children while they were eating food,” said Ginger. “Some of the students have aboriginal ancestry, and some have been to the west coast — Tofino, Bamfield, Nootka Island — which is mainly what my slideshow talks about.”

Ginger was happy to be part of Aboriginal Day, and he felt he learned as much from the students as they learned from him.

“For me, I love teaching and sharing my knowledge, and there are always students who bring something new,” he said. “I thoroughly like going to other sessions and getting a chance to hear from my co-workers, whom I don’t get to see during the year … we get cultural experiences from each other, which I really love. As an aboriginal support worker, I can share with students, and the more I can learn, it benefits me down the road when I can share it with my students.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Erin Chan accepted her prize of a Staycation at The Kingfisher valued at $500, for winning the  Discover Comox Valley Vacation Guide Photo Contest. Photo by Nicole Fowler
Winner announced in Discover Comox Valley Vacation Guide Photo Contest

Erin Chan has been named the grand prize winner of the Discover… Continue reading

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

A non-profit society hopes to keep musical theatre alive this summer in… Continue reading

The development permit application is for the back of a property at 2522 Dunsmuir Ave. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Privacy, heritage reasons for secondary house denial in Cumberland

Majority of council wants to see something more in line with Camp Road’s character

Local governments such as Cumberland’s are calling for Ottawa to treat opioids as a public health crisis. (Black Press file photo)
Cumberland councillor motivated by family member’s drug death

Council supports resolution for Ottawa to treat narcotics as public health emergency

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

The 5th Street Bridge Project, which began April 14, is expected to take 6 months to complete. Scott Stanfield photo
5th Street Bridge Project begins in Courtenay

The 5th Street Bridge rehabilitation project began Thursday in Courtenay. The $6.5… Continue reading

An armed officer walks outside Cerwydden Care on Cowichan Lake Road near Skinner Road Wednesday, April 14 around 5:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Officers surround building as homeowner held in apartment for nearly four hours by adult son

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour Pacific Rim highway closures planned in the next 6 weeks

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Most Read