A 32-foot mural painted at Spencer Middle School confronts the climate crisis through the voices of local Indigenous communities. The mural’s accompanying curriculum and learning tool is designed to “bridge cultures by creating common ground…” (Left to right: Co-respectful Indigenous community engagement facilitator Kati George-Jim (XwisXwčaa), kQw’ast’not (Charlene George), and Spencer Middles School Aboriginal Education Support Teacher Kathleen Meiklejohn.)

Coast Salish mural curriculum confronts climate crisis with place-based learning

‘Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes’ at Spencer school invites diversity in voices, perspectives

A locally-created Indigenous curriculum and learning tool incorporates place-based learning with a 32-foot mural project outside Langford’s Spencer Middle School.

Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes was created and designed by tSouke member k’Qwat’st’not (Charlene George), in collaboration with the region’s Indigenous communities, Sierra Club BC, School District 62 and Spencer Middle School’s Aboriginal Education department.

George’s mural confronts the climate crisis with the question, ‘where do we begin?’

READ ALSO: 60 per cent of all Canadian Indigenous languages are in BC

Co-respectful Indigenous community engagement facilitator Kati George-Jim says the mural and adjacent learning tool are there to help learners engage with different perspectives using place-based learning from local peoples: Esquimalt and Songhees (Lekwungen); Tslartlip, Pauquachin, Tseycum, Tsawout, and (W̱SÁNEĆ); Malahat (MÁLEXEȽ); and Beecher Bay (SCIA’NEW).

“With that focus on the local places, it ties closely to our cultural protocol of recognizing the peoples in which we are closely related to,” George-Jim says. “Not only is our connection through our families but also through the place.”

It took nine months for the mural to be painted at the middle school, located on Lekwungen territory. It is described as sharing a “complex and deep story seen through the eyes of Coast Salish practice and teaching with the Wild Man and Wild Woman.”

The mural tells the story of the land on which it lives, inviting voices and views “noticeably absent in present-day society, particularly when it comes to how we see nature and our place in it.”

It encompasses the cultures, voices and languages of the region’s communities, framing their teachings as meaningful and simultaneous in existence, rather than any one being better than another, rather giving the student or learner the opportunity to see through another’s eyes.

READ ALSO: Six Indigenous plant gardens unveiled at Victoria schools

The curriculum that comes with the mural was created using Coast Salish protocol and includes options for three different learning styles: Linear, Indigenous, and intuitive. English, Senćoŧen, Hul’q’umi’num, Klallam, tSouke, Lekwungen and Nuu-chah-nulth languages are used to tell the story, “designed to bridge cultures by creating common ground through sharing images, stories, audio clips and videos, leading to common understanding.”

“[It] raises the bar on what we can expect from meaningful relationships and being present in these spaces unapologetically in a way that truly represents the heart of our communities, our women and our knowledge holders who are really keeping this knowledge safe,” George-Jim says. “It is an honour to do this work and anyone who has been a part of this can say this is an investment for our future and for others to build on.”

Explore Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes online at sierraclub.bc.ca/watcherseyes/.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD awards $6.8-million Wastewater Treatment Project contract to Surrey company

Construction of the Trent Forcemain to begin in early 2020

Funds raised through off-road cycling event will help improve Central Saanich bike trails

Tripleshot Cycling Club presents $3,000 cheque to Nature Trails Society

B.C. Green Party interim leader to visit Wet’suwet’en camps

MLA Adam Olsen stands behind First Nations

Keating Elementry receiving earthquake upgrades

Seismic upgrades help better protect students in the event of an earthquake.

Adverse weather cancelled more than 900 ferry sailings in 2012

Less than three weeks into January, BC Ferries has cancelled more than 230 sailings

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read