Aboriginal Education Worker Don Bowser shows a student crafted school hand drum with the new logo painted on it that was designed by student Tanner Loewen. Jill Hayward photo:

Reconciliation starts with knowing and understanding

Barriere Secondary and Simpcw First Nation join for Day of Sucwentwecw

Vice-principal Mark McVittie opened the Day of Sucwentwecw assembly at Barriere Secondary on Apr. 3, by noting the gathering was on the territory of the Secwepemc People and specifically the territory of the Simpcw First Nation. He then welcomed to the event Simpcw First Nation Elders, including Elder William Pete who gave the opening prayer, and Simpcw Council members Tina Donald and Jules Phillip, as well as School District 73 vice-chair Rhonda Kershaw, and other special guests.

“It is an honour to serve these communities in the Secwepemc territory as well as all First Peoples,” said McVittie, “This year our theme is “Balancing Our Actions: the Self, the Family, the Community and the Land’. Our hope is that this and future gatherings will continue to serve as the foundation for a renewed and strengthened relationship between the School District and the Aboriginal peoples we serve. By going back to the First Peoples priniciples of learning and reconciliation, we can work with greater confidence – together – to create a brighter future for our families, our communities and our nations.”

Student Izabelle Morin assisted as a Master of Ceremonies during the event, introducing speakers and assisting with presentations.

McVittie presented Simpcw First Nation representative, Councilor Tina Donald, with a handcrafted gift. Donald noted that Chief Shelley Loring was unable to attend, and said, “It is an honour to be here today. As you know we are already working together – there is nothing we cannot do by working together.”

A special presentation was then made by BSS teachers Kristy Dolha and Brian Tomasini, who noted that Barriere Secondary and Simpcw First Nation had asked grade 8 and 9 students to explore symbols to come up with a new logo for the school that shows BSS and Simpcw working together as a unit.

“Logos are very powerful and a good exercise,” said Tomasini, “We are very proud to stand here with a new logo that doesn’t replace anything, it is just a third logo for the school.”

Tomasina introduced BSS grade 9 student Tanner Loewen, the designer of the new logo, and presented him with a t-shirt sporting the logo.

Don Bowser, who is the Aboriginal Education Worker at the school, showed a newly crafted school hand drum with the new logo painted on it. He thanked students Ritchie Celesta and Michael Loring, and Mr. Mitchell for working on creating the drum.

BSS social studies teacher Katja Hundt spoke to the assembly, saying the traditional welcome of “Weytk-p” in Secwepemc (Shuswap).

“Reconciliation starts with knowing and understanding. Here at Barriere Secondary we have seen many good things happening to come closer to this in a not too far future,” said Hundt, “Whether you join an English classroom, a socials class, or math, or science. or foods, or art, or applied technologies, Aboriginal content and principles of learning have entered our classrooms. You will meet storytellers who tell traditional stories and stories about coming of age. Students have the opportunity to experience traditional fishing technologies, or do math assignments with the eye on traditional approaches.

“Coming into our school you are greeted by a new window dressing, you will hear drums sounding, and may even experience a game of bannock ball or watch the Stick Game. Whenever we are planning activities we consult with Simpcw. We have invited community members to enrich our classrooms with stories, music, history, the use of natural resources and more.

“Just recently we started a professional development day which we started in Chu Chua in February. Focus was the integration of Aboriginal content in our classrooms.

“We would love to see a closer relationship between our communities. This relationship, this partnership will be seen through consultation, the inclusion in events, a canoe trip planned in June, and the indigenization of this space. In the near future this building will be seeing its first smudging to start anew and open doors to knowing and understanding.

“Kukwstsetsemc (thank you).”

A tasty lunch of moose and beef stew with fresh buns, and ice cream for dessert, was then served to guests, students, and staff.


(l-r) Barriere Secondary teachers Kristy Dolha and Brian Tomasini, present grade 9 student Tanner Loewen with a t-shirt showing the new logo that he created for the school. The logo is a combination of Barriere Secondary and Simpcw First Nation symbols. Jill Hayward photo:

Just Posted

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

Lions’ Easter Sunday well past 40 year mark in Barriere

The Annual Barriere Lions Club Pancake Breakfast and Easter Egg Hunt has… Continue reading

Bingo fundraiser helps After School Program

Bingo was on the agenda for the North Thompson Activity Centre Society… Continue reading

Mascon fiber optics being installed in Barriere

A work crew was spotted last week on Apr. 17 at the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Most Read