The Nala’atsi crew spent several Thursday afternoons in March and April at Sandwick Technical School under the capable guidance of Oliver Felsing and Gord McMahon. Our work at Sandwick represents the final stage of the Nala’atsi Spirit Animal Multimedia Project, where students researched a number of animals and their places within various First Nations cultures across Canada. Several of our students made stepping stones with their own spirit animal designs, while other students worked with Gord McMahon to create antler spearheads using ancestral processes. Photos of the end results will be posted soon. A huge thank you to Oliver Felsing and Gord McMahon for making this project possible!
With our recently purchased archery set (thanks to the Aboriginal Sport BC Equipment Grant!) we headed out to Courtenay Fish & Game for an afternoon of archery. After reviewing the basics of archery, we headed out to the target course for a fantastic afternoon of shooting foam deer, bears, and other forest creatures. Thank you Courtenay Fish & Game!
(Most of these photos were shot by Nala’atsi student Shaughn MacIntyre – excellent work Shaughn!)
Along with a number of students from Vanier, Highland, and Isfeld, the Nala’atsi crew headed up the hill for an afternoon of showshoeing. The sun was out, spirits were high, and conditions for snowshoeing were ideal. Several of our students were also able to feed the resident Whisky Jacks right out of their hands. All in all, it was an excellent day. Many thanks to Bobbie Bailer for organizing the event!
When Bobbie found out that the Witness Blanket was traveling to Nanaimo during its Canada-wide tour, we jumped at the opportunity to view this incredible artwork. The Witness Blanket stands as a “national monument to recognize the atrocities of the Indian Residential School era, honour the children, and symbolise ongoing reconciliation.” On November 22nd Nala’atsi students and staff, accompanied by Comox Valley Elder and Residential School Survivor Lil Daniels, traveled to VIU to view the Witness Blanket. It was a powerful and moving experience – one that prompted serious reflection and discussion. Afterwards, we headed to Mrs. Riches for outrageously large burgers, which then led to a very quiet bus ride home.
On November 14th Nala’atsi students and staff headed out to Camp Gilwell for our first Sweat Lodge Ceremony of the year. Earlier in November, we had constructed the Lodge under the guidance of Daryle Mills, and now we were lucky enough to be the first to use it. For many students and staff, this was their first Sweat Lodge experience. It was an intense, invigorating, and very special experience for everyone involved. Thanks Daryle!
On November 1st we headed out in the bus on a full-day mission to gather Alder brush and then rebuild the Sweat Lodge at Camp Gilwell. Daryle Mills guided us through the entire process, all the while entertaining and enlightening students and staff with stories, spiritual wisdom, and knowledge relating to the Sweat Lodge Ceremony. It was a fantastic day, and we even escaped the rain for most of it. We will return to Camp Gilwell later this month to participate in our first sweat of the year!