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.
Our year-end trip to Victoria was a fantastic conclusion to a fantastic year. Upon arriving in Victoria we were greeted by a number of sassy peacocks in Beacon Hill Park. They were intent upon eating our sandwiches, and managed to terrify a few of our students, but they left hungry. We visited Beacon Hill Park petting zoo where we saw pigs, alpacas, and of course baby goats. We loved seeing our students transform into wide-eyed kids ooh’ing and ah’ing over the baby goats.
Chinatown was a big hit for students, too, and we navigated the narrow Fan Tan alley and explored the various shops and their dizzying array of oddities.
We went to Young’s Chinese Restaurant for dinner, not really knowing what to expect. We ordered 2 ‘Family of 6’ meals. It was an obscene amount of food. After eating the first of 8 dishes (spring rolls and wontons) Tabitha remarked “Is that all the food?” That was not all the food. They continued to bring out plate after plate. At first we felt jubilant, then overwhelmed, and then just embarrassed. But it was a delicious meal, full of laughter and lively conversation. Students went home the next night with many leftovers.
Our tour of the Royal BC Museum First Nations exhibit was excellent, led by our extremely knowledgeable guide Leslie McGarry, from the Kwakiutl First Nation. She shared her extensive knowledge of BC’s First Nations and led us through the stunning collection of art, artifacts, and other displays. Many of our students were proud to see their nations represented in the museum. Leslie packed in an incredible amount of learning into one hour. Thank you Leslie!
All in all, the trip was a complete success and the culmination of all of our adventures throughout the year. Our students were a joy to spend time with and conducted themselves responsibly and with respect. Nala’atsi was well represented in Victoria!
And on the bus ride home the Bobbie Bailer Bus was full of tired but happy students. And Chinese leftovers. Many leftovers.