On December 12th we packed into the Bobbie Bailer Bus and headed south for a visit to the VIU Natural History Museum, joined by Nala’atsi favourite Lelaina Jules. After checking out the museum (and its array of taxidermied wonders) we visited Shq’aphthut Gathering Place, where students got a taste of campus life. And what would a trip to Nanaimo be without a visit to Mrs. Riches restaurant? We enjoyed a couple of obscenely large burgers and ate way too much (who could’ve predicted that???) followed by a quiet bus ride home.
After learning about the cultural & historical significance of the drum, Nala’atsi students and staff spent an afternoon making their own drums. For many students this was their first opportunity to make a drum. Daryle Mills, Mavis Aubichon, and Bobbie Bailer guided us through the process and by the end of the day almost all of our students and staff had completed their very own drum. Huge thank you’s to Mavis, Daryle, and Bobbie for making it all possible! Photos of the completed drums to come…
On November 5th the Nala’atsi crew traveled to Quadra Island for a tour of the Nuyumbalees Cultural Center. We were joined by a number of Isfeld students & staff and our favourite Elders – Jo Loukes, Verna Wallace, and Jackie Finnie. The tour was fascinating and informative, and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery throughout the day. Thank you to Bobbie for organizing the trip, and to the Elders and Isfeld students & staff who joined us for the day. (Photos by Marion Dawson & Abigayle Randell).
The weather has been kind to us this fall. On an unexpectedly sunny Monday morning we convoyed out to Comox Lake for a day of canoeing. Several students had never canoed before; most of us are inexperienced at best, which makes it even more impressive that everyone found the courage to get out on the water, and that no one found themselves in the water. We paddled our way across the lake to Coal Beach and later around the bend to Devil’s Ladder, where we watched a group of rock climbers scale a terrifying rock face. When one of our students (very helpfully) yelled, “Don’t fall” one of the climbers replied, “Don’t drown!” Big thank yous to Bobbie for getting the canoes out to the lake, and to Abigayle for some of the excellent photos below.
There was no shortage of pre-game smack talk, and on October 11th the Nala’atsi crew headed to Campbell River to face off in the forest for our second annual laser tag outing. It was a beautiful, sunny day and students & staff had a fantastic time gallivanting through the forest. (Thank you to Bobbie for the exceptional action shots!)
On October 1st the Nala’atsi crew visited the Comox Valley Art Gallery for a guided tour of the Potlatch 67-67 exhibit. Molina Dawson, part of our extended Nala’atsi family, led us through the exceptional exhibit, which explores the “impact of the attempted cultural genocide through the Potlatch ban and the resilience of Indigenous people in maintaining and reclaiming traditional cultural practices and in creating new forms of cultural expression.” We were joined by the lovely Lelaina Jules and Mavis Aubichon as well, who offered personal insight into the exhibit. Thank you to our excellent guides and the creators of Potlatch 67-67 for a powerful and moving experience. (Thank you Lelaina for the photos!)
On May 24th we hosted our annual Nala’atsi Healthy Living Fair. We invited families, caretakers, community members, Elders, trustees, and even 3 classes from Courtenay Elementary to check out student projects, a woodcarving workshop with master carver Wes Nahanee from the Squamish First Nation, tipi construction with Daryle Mills, and a salmon smoking demonstration with Lelaina Jules. The turn-out was excellent, and guests were treated to an array of healthy treats and cultural activities. We were really proud of our students, who were fantastic hosts and produced excellent projects around personal well-being.