Each year, the Kootenay Lake School District honours the Métis community by observing Métis Awareness Month. The Métis Nation is a distinct Indigenous people with both First Nations and European ancestry.
SD8 respects, honours and acknowledges all Aboriginal people residing within the boundaries of the school district and throughout November is hosting several activities to celebrate Métis culture.
“Students and families can engage in a variety of safe ways,” says Danica Weager, district Indigenization co-ordinator, “There are video resources, zoom meetings being planned, youth circles and even a book club to join.”
Métis Awareness Month is developed and planned in partnership with the local West Kootenay Métis Society. This community-based partnership provides guidance and connections and helps to connect students with the local Nation through localized presenters and knowledge keepers.
Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/westkootenaymetis.
Elder Don Courson, president of the society, encourages all SD8 students to learn more about Métis culture, history, and language by participating in a variety of educational initiatives this month. Watch his welcoming video: https://youtu.be/2dlxbRYJqZk.
“It is important we look to our Métis Elders to share words, wisdom and intentions this month,” said Weager.
In the spirit of honouring Métis contributions to literature, a special conversation with Elder and author Maria Campbell is open to all staff, students and families. Campbell, author of her memoir Half-Breed, will join those interested in a conversation on Nov. 10. Contact SD8’s Aboriginal Education department for more details on how to sign up.
In addition, From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle will be the featured piece of literature in a special book club that is open to everyone to join. Email Danica.firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
For Métis youth in Grade 8 and up, the aboriginal education department will be hosting a series of youth circles with LVR graduate and Métis youth role model Charly Defouw. All youth programming details and additional resources can be accessed on the Aboriginal Education website: https://aboriginal.sd8.bc.ca/.
“By learning about Métis culture, we encourage discussions about the gifts that different communities bring to our lives and help us shift our narratives,” said Weager. “We encourage everyone to get involved!”