School District 10 elementary students spent their last day of school out in the sun, taking part in Aboriginal Day celebrations in Nakusp. Organizers had erected a tipi where children could listen to stories, and there were stations that displayed carving, offered bannock and jam, showed artifacts, sold books. At one table, faces were painted and temporary Native design tattoos were affixed to kids.
After lunch, students chose to listen to stories, watch films or play sports outside. Sounds like a great day at school, and it was. The difference on June 21 was that the focus was on aboriginal culture.
First Nation stories were told in the tipi, and the films were ones that the older elementary kids had made with the focus on Aboriginal culture and history. Film topics ranged from the retelling of legends to recreation of historical moments to tackling the enormous subject of residential schools.
Out in the sports field, students learned how to play different games, most of them from the Inuit up north. Sledge jumping, striker, the shoe game and more were played, but no face pulling (probably a wise decision).
At the heart of the tables and displays were several drums, and many people took their turn at them, playing together on the grandmother drum or on their own with the smaller drums. Each beat sounded out into the vast blue sky, signalling the end of school and the beginning of summer.