Tsay Keh Dene students win traditional knowledge award

Three students from Tsay Keh Dene School have been recognized with a traditional knowledge award as part of a provincial art contest.

Simone Pierre, Kaydus Tomah-Pierre, and Lillyanna Abou took part in FORED BC's annual artwork contest for youth ages five to 18 as part of its Aboriginal Heritage, Education and Dialogue program.

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Their finished work compares and contrasts traditional dwellings before colonization with houses after contact.

Their teacher, Alexandra Gretchko, had this to say about the art design:

"My grade 3 and 4 students are currently studying the book 'The Orange Shirt Story' and becoming aware of residential school stories in a safe and age appropriate manner. We also explore the effects of colonization by contrasting today’s societal structure in Canada with the six main Native societal structures found in North America before contact.

"Within this context, we met with our Culture and Language Tsay Keh Dene teachers, Elder Mable and Elder Elsie, who talked about and drew what the First Nations dwellings in Tsay Keh Dene looked like before colonization.

"Then, our class went for a walk in the woods to reflect on the past and to collect some natural items that inspired their crafts. The students were allowed to use any media: paint, crayons, pencils, markers, natural items and glue guns, and were given total freedom to represent their understanding of what dwellings looked like before colonization and contrast it with today’s housing."

The students received a cash prize for their winning work.

“These students are keepers of valuable indigenous knowledge,” Victor Godin, educational director of FORED BC, said.

“This historic and cultural legacy is important to preserve.”

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca. 

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