Traditional Teachings

Ucuelet Secondary School Indigenous Ways of Wellness SD070 School Level Secondary Island Health Authority Public

Our Nuu-chah-nulth studies class invited local first nations elders into our classroom to reinforce past practices of traditional teachings. Elders passed on traditional knowledge to youth through hands-on work.

Several students went on a field trip to harvest cedar. Elders taught youth how to harvest cedar from live trees in a culturally and ecologically respectful way. The same elders were then invited into our classroom to teach the traditional working of cedar. Students engaged with elders, learning how to make baskets, headbands, and bracelets out of cedar.

The age gap between youth, aged 13-16, and elders, aged 50-70, was large. However the youth connected with the elders, they learned, stayed focused, gave respect and completed cedar work. To the surprise of 2 of the elders, one youth hugged the elders after the class. There were many Klecko’s (thank-you’s) at the end of each class.

In an age of technology, which can sometimes get in the way of learning, to our surprise not one student attempted to check their phones during the traditional teachings time. It was a sign of authentic engagement, coupled with respect for elders.

Thank-you DASH and the HSN for helping us with this awesome experience.