Pauquachin First Nation, Kelset Elementary students unveil canoe after year of collaborative work

November 14, 2018

After over a year of work between Pauquachin First Nation carver Curtis Henry and students of Kelset Elementary School in North Saanich, a canoe built from a cedar tree has taken its inaugural voyage. The canoe-building project was made possible by a grant secured by the Pauquachin Nation, and saw each of the 400 participating students travel to the First Nation on field trips to engage in storytelling and other cultural teachings. They witnessed the felling of the tree and went on to sand and varnish it. “It’s not just about building canoes,” explained Henry, who emphasized the importance of bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners. “It’s about teaching our culture.” The students named the canoe the Kelset Thunderbird in honour of what they had learned. Kelset Indigenous support teacher Robin Dupree noted that a project like this would not have occurred 100 years ago, but that “now in 2018 our education system is changing.” Sooke News Mirror | CHEK News