Saanich Peninsula First Nation students return to the water

First Nations students were able to return to the water in the launch of their two canoes.

Students of the WSANEC Leadership Secondary School gathered Monday to launch the canoes they built from the Tsartlip First Nation boat ramp.

First Nations students were able to return to the water in the launch of their two canoes.

Students, teachers, volunteers and members of the community came out to celebrate the moment at the Tsartlip boat ramp on Monday.

“It’s a connection with the traditional knowledge that the community is trying to pass onto the younger generation,” said  Principal of the WSANEC Leadership Secondary School (WLSS) Joe Karmel.

Seven students, under the guidance of boat builder Laurie Armstrong, committed to building the two canoes every Friday since January. Armstrong said for a lot of these kids, it was the first time they’d ever had a power tool in their hands.

“It’s not the kids watching me build the boat, it’s the kids (who) built the boat,” he said.

Armstrong who retired a couple of years ago said he always wanted to do something for First Nations and pitched the project to WLSS and went out to the community asking people to contribute.

Slegg Lumber donated materials, Armstrong said. Peninsula Co-op gave $1,000 for the two canoes. West Wind Hardwood donated lumber and Payne’s Marine Supply Group donated all the paint and epoxy.

“It’s fantastic to see the significance of the canoes to the First Nations,” Armstrong said as he watched the students launch the canoes into the water.

“This is really neat to see…”

Karmel said it’s part of the new curriculum redesign for the province in trying to seamlessly bring aboriginal perspectives and traditional First Nations principles into the lessons.

WLSS language teacher John Elliott said it’s nice that the kids are returning to the salt water as the people of the First Nations have been driven away from it for so long.

Elliott also helped in building the paddles for the canoes, as well as eagle head and thunderbird figurines for the prow of each canoe.

“They wanted to name the canoes,” he said, adding that the kids decided to name one eagle and the other, thunderbird.

Before the canoes were launched, Tsartlip elder Fred Charlie gave the canoes a blessing.

The blessing, Elliott said is their way of celebrating the completion of a big job, along with a hopeful blessing that the canoes will always be safe when the kids are on the water.

Karmel said the carving, painting and all of the different components that went into the building of the two canoes are spread throughout the students’ curriculum, meeting a number of different goals at once.

Next year, he said, they will have a new course called community, culture and the environment — which brings First Nations traditions into the science and social studies program.

Just Posted

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Colwood mayor pitches ferry as commuter alternative

Mayor Rob Martin says different modes of transportation need to be considered

Bouquet sales support big dreams in Greater Victoria

Country Grocer features holiday bouquets for Help Fill a Dream

‘Book nerds unite!’ Sidney voted one of Canada’s most cozy cities

Coveted for its bookstores and picturesque views, Expedia.ca ranks town No. 12 on list of 55 cities

Emerald Gloves boxing brings fights to Langford

Langford’s Matt Daniels dropped weight for debut

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

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

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

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read