31. Community Connections: Learning and Teaching Haida Language

District: No. 50 (Haida Gwaii)

This project explores what happens when students are taken into the heart of the Haida community to nurture relationships and language learning with Elders. It will create a community classroom (school outside the conventional school building) in order to empower First Nations learners through visits to the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program. As it evolves, its focus on the preservation, teaching and learning of the Haida language is deepening. As students and Elders gather daily in the community to teach and learn Haida, they increasingly work within First Nations principles of learning, especially inter-generational roles and responsibilities, Indigenous knowledge, and patience and time in education.

From Tricia we are very please to be able to share this Explain Everything Interactive Whiteboard for iPad-created project about Community Connections – debuted at the Rural Schools Symposium 2017 at UBC.

Please appreciate with us this project’s 2019 artefacts and documentation –

We were fortunate enough to be able to invite a local knowledge holder to the school who then took the grade 1/2 class out to the forest to collect spruce pitch to make spruce salve.

Children scraping a spruce tree,

The artifacts connects with our project in that it is an example of a community member coming into the school and the students connecting with the community.  It also connects to local traditions as spruce salve has been a part of local medicine for many years. 

Using spruce salve to treat a cut on Childs hand,

One of the most unexpected (but really should be expected because it seems to always happen:)) is how some of the kids who might have challenges in other areas in school, seem to light up in these types of situations.  One of our students who struggles academically was completely competent with the hand tools required to make the salve.  Another student who struggles with math was able to describe the salve making process flawlessly as she had made it with her grandmother before.  It has been interesting to see the range of community members who have knowledge to share with us and are very happy to take part in the projects.

Making spruce salve

From the 2019 Rural Schools Symposium, we are grateful to be able to share this project’s presentation (.pptx opens in new window)

Here is the Community Connections 2018-2019 final project report (opens in new tab).