Sir William Van Horne Elementary students have celebrated the unveiling of a Coast Salish post at their school.
The post depicts two salmon swimming upstream and was carved by master Coast Salish carvers, Splash and James Harry. The two carvers worked with students over weeks, teaching them about Coast Salish art and culture, and giving each student the opportunity to try their hand at carving.
"The presence of Splash and James at our school for a long-term project such as ours provided students with many opportunities to learn on many levels," said Van Horne kindergarten teacher Jen Lupichuk. "Students were exposed to what it means to do a whole-school project, work with artists, collaborate, create stories, listen to stories, and think of their own relations to place."
Lupichuk was the teacher responsible for bringing the master carvers to Van Horne. Their arrival was the first collaboration between students and First Nations artists in the school's 106-year history.
The unveiling ceremony took place in the gymnasium of Van Horne, where students were taken through the journey of the post, from being a log to the finished piece of art. Then, led by VSB's knowledge keeper, Shane Pointe, the post was ceremonially delivered from the carvers to the students.
"Really, this experience for each child has been about planting a seed of awareness and connection that will hopefully grow into greater understanding and knowledge for the First Peoples of our area," said Lupichuk.
The post will live in the school's library as a living memory of the experience, and for future generations to ask further questions and explore.
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