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Blog: Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Learning Together

This year at W.A. Fraser Middle School, students experienced numerous learning opportunities. At the various grade levels students spent time learning about the truth of Canada’s Residential School System, the lasting impact it has had on Indigenous people, and the ongoing struggles Indigenous people and communities continue to face. This spring, teachers collaborated with our Indigenous support worker, Elizabeth Nahanee, to create the “Advocacy Tree”. They spoke about the meaning of the word “advocacy” and drew inspiration from “Picking up the pieces: The making of the witness blanket” to create a tree. The leaves outlined what students learned and how they would be advocates. In the roots, students symbolically placed black and white photos of the old residential schools, while several students wrote letters to survivors. In addition, class presentations targeted the entire school to learn about Indigenous culture and local communities. This allowed our Indigenous students to step into leadership roles and facilitate classroom presentations and activities. Metis Finger Weaving, Sto:Lo Fishing Tools and Implements: Past and Present, History of Trade Beads, Bannock in a jar, Her Seven Brothers and rock painting were all well received.

Students completed integrated art projects: Dot Art, Spirit Animal Clay Sculptures, Feather Project emphasizing the Eagle, Sturgeon Stuffed Animals, Drum Making with Darren Charlie, Bookmarks from local artist Bon Wyse and Canoe Paddles for our exhibit on Sumas Lake.

Our Indigenous students grew to be a strong community eager to learn about their identity and heritage. Some students dug deeper into their backgrounds and uncovered the Indigenous communities their families are connected to. With the new information, students are excited to learn more about their family history and identities.

SCOTT PETERS
Vice Principal, WA Fraser Middle School