30 Nisga’a children attend schools in Surrey SD. They were be part of a an historic event called The Journey Home, a journey of reclamation of 500 Nisga’a who live in the urban centres of Metro Vancouver. These urban Nisga’a travelled home to connect with their family members and their cultural traditions. The articipants included kids who are in foster care; adults who were taken during the ’60s scoop; and elders who attended residential school and never returned home to the Nass valley. This journey is a rebirthing of who they are as Nisga’a people and where they came from. The planning for this has been a huge undertaking between the people who live on Nisga’a territory and the Nisga’a who reside elsewhere in the world. Apparently there are estranged Nisga’a from as far away as Holland and Australia. Please click on this link to watch their 4.38 minute dvd of this JOURNEY HOME:
Where do you come in as a teacher if one of your students participated on this journey? The urban Nisga’a community would like teachers and staff to embrace this as an educational opportunity for the children who participate in this journey and to consider its educational merit. Throughout the journey, the children filled in their individual memory books as the planners wanted the participants to gain in as many ways possible from this immense educational and cultural opportunity. The children took photos and kept journals to record their learning and impressions of all that they saw, hear, and experienced. Throughout the journey, they heard stories; saw parts of BC that they may have never seen before; learned the geography of the Nass; and experienced first hand the rich history, culture, and traditions of the Nisga’a. This is experiential learning at its best.Upon their return to their classsrooms, it is the wish of the Nisga’a that their children be invited and encouraged to share the details of their journey with others in their classes and perhaps with larger groups. For many, the journey may have a life changing impact educationally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The communities in the Nass had big plans to receive and host the urban Nisga’a. They travelled by bus (4 busses), by ferry, and by air. Hawk Air transported 25 elders who were unable to make the journey by vehicle. Some cars took highway 97 and others took BC Ferries to Prince Rupert. This was an historic event for the Nisga’a and for the children and their families who participated.
I will be compiling some Nisga’a resources for teacher use and welcome inquiries from teachers in sd 36 in order to bring this experience into their classrooms and extend the learning for all students.Teachers should feel free to contact me for this.