I was fortunate to attend BC’s FNESC (First Nations Education Steering Committee) last week. It was the twentieth year of the conference and my first one. More information about FNESC can be found here.
I attended the Thursday evening event with colleagues from Richmond and Delta and enjoyed participating in the “toonie auction” raising funds for the Seventh Generation Club. There was entertainment and great conversation.
On Friday, Jo-Anne Archibald did the keynote presentation and as usual, she was inspiring and inspired my thinking.
There was a panel presentation, sharing the story of Aboriginal Education in BC over the last twenty years with hope for the next twenty years.
The rest of the day was spent attending workshops, learning, meeting people from all over BC, listening to singing and drumming at lunch and purchasing some new resources.
On Saturday, the keynote presentation was by Thomson Highway, literary great. He shared his multi-faceted genius in his presentation with his wit, talent and amazing piano playing.
The next session I went to was all about Cedar. The amazing collection of items woven out of cedar was impressive. The presenters shared how cedar bark was traditionally harvested by their community and how it was used for clothing and baskets.
We then had the opportunity to twist and turn some cedar bark into a bracelet.
My last session of the conference was a FNESC-sponsored session on using authentic resources. We have used FNESC’s criteria and book lists in Richmond with teacher-librarians as well as the various projects that are running in schools. It was great to see some new books and share ideas with colleagues from across the province.
I hope to attend the FNESC conference again. It was such a positive, inspiring experience and it gave me great hope for the future of Aboriginal Education in our province. I especially appreciated hearing the many many languages spoken during the conference, as participants introduced themselves, welcomes were given and stories shared. The passion and dedication of educators working together to support the success of our students was embedded in every conversation I had during the conference. My mind and heart are still full from the experience.