I have been fortunate to attend two professional learning events at the Musqueam Cultural Centre in the last month.
On March 29th, the Musqueam Language and Cultural department invited a team of Richmond educators to attend their second professional development day. As with last year, a group of primary teachers involved in our Playful Storytelling through the First Peoples Principles of Learning project attended. This year, the focus was on heightening awareness to language rejuvenation projects as well as teaching as the intricacies of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language. We learned the story of the serpent after which the Musqueam peoples are named after and used a string game to help us remember the oral story. We were gifted yet again with some wonderful hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language resources to use with our students.
On April 22, Leanne McColl, Aboriginal Education teacher consultant organized our third district professional development day at Musqueam. About 240 teachers from elementary and secondary schools attended the day where they were welcomed by a Musqueam drummer, attended a keynote presentation from Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert and then cycled through a series of sessions including a blanket exercise that simulates ideas of colonization, a tour of the Musqueam lands and a visit to the museum on site.
One of the Richmond teachers who was visiting Musqueam for the first time, shared with me at lunch that all that we have been talking about in our district in terms of curriculum, First Peoples Principles of Learning, place-based pedagogy and reconciliation all came together for him during his time. He felt a connection to the place that deepened his understanding and commitment to the work we have been doing. Profound professional and personal learning.
We are already looking forward to continued collaboration with the Musqueam Nation.