Aboriginal education festival comes to B.C. school

Monday, May 2, 2016
Tina Lovgreen
CBC News

Over 270 elementary school students packed the hallways and classrooms of John Oliver Secondary School in Vancouver for a hands-on learning experience on Aboriginal culture.

"It's important for all these young people to know that we are right now," said Shane Pointe, Musqueam elder and Vancouver School Board's first knowledge keeper and elder in residence. 

"We are not historical, we are right now," Pointe said. 

Musqueam First Nation elder Shane Pointe is the Vancouver School Board's first knowledge keeper and elder in residence. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

First Nation artisans taught students about the medicine wheel, walked them through canoe protocols, and showed them West Coast designs.

It was all part of the school's first step at integrating the new B.C. curriculum, which has been re-designed to emphasize Aboriginal culture.

"It's one of our schools goals...to infuse First Nations understanding throughout the curriculum, not just in history class but in math, science and P.E.," said Tim McGeer, principal at John Oliver Secondary School. 

John Oliver Secondary School principal Tim McGeer said he's thankful for the redesign of the B.C. curriculum because it lets schools infuse First Nation understanding. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Exploring the arts

The Grade 6 and 7 students also took part in a powwow dance class that required serious stamina. 

"It's pretty fun, I can say that, but it is pain too sometimes," said Daniel Krishna, a Grade 7 student from John Henderson Elementary School on trying the dance steps for the first time. 

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