ADSS welcomes new Indigenous students

Deborah Potter, October 1, 2019

The Alberni District Secondary School welcomed First Nations eighth graders to the high school with a barbecue on Sept. 26. Pictured is Richard Samuel serving food at the event. (Deborah Potter photos)

Port Alberni, BC — 

Alberni District Secondary School opened its doors for Indigenous eighth grade students and their families with their third annual barbecue.

Around 125 people arrived to enjoy barbecued hot dogs and delicious salmon donated by the Tseshaht, Uchucklesaht, Huu-ay-aht and Hupacasath nations. There were door prizes, blackberry crumble for desert, and plenty of singing and dancing to be had courtesy of the Tseshaht canoe family.

“We like to start the school year in a nice way,” Nuu-chah-nulth Education Worker Diane Gallic said to ADSS’ new students, “to make you all feel welcome.”

This year, ADSS has over 300 Indigenous youth, which is almost a quarter of the student body. Nuu-chah-nulth Education Workers and staff on the Indigenous leadership team spent time finding new ways to bring culture into their school.

“A lot of our (Indigenous) students come from Haahuupayak and Ahousaht,” NEW Georgina Sutherland said to Ha-shilth-sa.

A Nuu-chah-nulth course was brought into the school a couple of years ago for those students who were interested. The curriculum offered Nuu-chah-nulth language, traditional stories, crafts, and Nuu-chah-nulth history.

Besides the Nuu-chah-nulth class, Gallic and Sutherland wanted to incorporate more culture into the school.

This year, they have Nuu-chah-nulth singing and dancing offered as an extracurricular activity, as well as the possibility of organizing a lahal tournament.

NEW staff and Moira Barney, the Nuu-chah-nulth class teacher, are working together to also try to incorporate drum making into the class curriculum.

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