Delta School District and its Indigenous Education Department is going mobile with some of their classroom learning.
This week at the Coyote Literacy Summer School at North Delta’s Gray Elementary, a mobile classroom a.k.a. the Longhouse was unveiled.
The brainchild of indigenous cultural enhancement facilitator Nathan “Kanaax Kuwoox” Wilson, the Longhouse will be utilized throughout the district as a place of learning and cultural teaching. Plans are already in the works to use it at the Farm Roots Mini School, Deas Island and other school locations starting in September.
“We work and our focus is on indigenous students and studies,” said Wilson of the work of the Indigenous Education Department. “We go in and help teachers, staff and students with learning First Nations mindsets, so that would be from this traditional territory of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam people. I go into every classroom and share my culture and my background. We can talk about Residential Schools, play lacrosse, art projects – anything that we can share on a daily basis.”
Wilson said as he comes from an outdoor background and his uncle had one of these tents, he thought this would be a good way to create an outdoor learning space.
“Being able to go out in any season is what we wanted to do. Quite often we will do days at Deas Island and we don’t have a space to hide from the sun or the rain,” he said. “So the idea of this tent came from that. Two days ago we had 40 students inside the structure and there was room for more, so that is a class or two that can fit inside.”
Wilson said the district wants to find an artist that can put designs on the tent which will be representative of Coast Salish tradition. They also want to get some wooden benches made from some of the high school woodshop students.
It is also just the start of more cultural projects as the district will be undertaking a fundraising initiative in the fall to purchase a journey canoe.
“These will be just two new traditional learning tools that we can use throughout the district,” he said. “It’s all about how the curriculum has changed for the indigenous mindset. It is important to have a physical piece that shows this is what we lived in, this is what we travelled in. I like to see the indigenous kids show that pride for our culture and our history and for all the kids to learn about that history and culture.”