A 32-foot mural painted at Spencer Middle School confronts the climate crisis through the voices of local Indigenous communities. The mural’s accompanying curriculum and learning tool is designed to “bridge cultures by creating common ground…” (Left to right: Co-respectful Indigenous community engagement facilitator Kati George-Jim (XwisXwčaa), kQw’ast’not (Charlene George), and Spencer Middles School Aboriginal Education Support Teacher Kathleen Meiklejohn.)

Coast Salish mural curriculum confronts climate crisis with place-based learning

‘Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes’ at Spencer school invites diversity in voices, perspectives

A locally-created Indigenous curriculum and learning tool incorporates place-based learning with a 32-foot mural project outside Langford’s Spencer Middle School.

Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes was created and designed by tSouke member k’Qwat’st’not (Charlene George), in collaboration with the region’s Indigenous communities, Sierra Club BC, School District 62 and Spencer Middle School’s Aboriginal Education department.

George’s mural confronts the climate crisis with the question, ‘where do we begin?’

READ ALSO: 60 per cent of all Canadian Indigenous languages are in BC

Co-respectful Indigenous community engagement facilitator Kati George-Jim says the mural and adjacent learning tool are there to help learners engage with different perspectives using place-based learning from local peoples: Esquimalt and Songhees (Lekwungen); Tslartlip, Pauquachin, Tseycum, Tsawout, and (W̱SÁNEĆ); Malahat (MÁLEXEȽ); and Beecher Bay (SCIA’NEW).

“With that focus on the local places, it ties closely to our cultural protocol of recognizing the peoples in which we are closely related to,” George-Jim says. “Not only is our connection through our families but also through the place.”

It took nine months for the mural to be painted at the middle school, located on Lekwungen territory. It is described as sharing a “complex and deep story seen through the eyes of Coast Salish practice and teaching with the Wild Man and Wild Woman.”

The mural tells the story of the land on which it lives, inviting voices and views “noticeably absent in present-day society, particularly when it comes to how we see nature and our place in it.”

It encompasses the cultures, voices and languages of the region’s communities, framing their teachings as meaningful and simultaneous in existence, rather than any one being better than another, rather giving the student or learner the opportunity to see through another’s eyes.

READ ALSO: Six Indigenous plant gardens unveiled at Victoria schools

The curriculum that comes with the mural was created using Coast Salish protocol and includes options for three different learning styles: Linear, Indigenous, and intuitive. English, Senćoŧen, Hul’q’umi’num, Klallam, tSouke, Lekwungen and Nuu-chah-nulth languages are used to tell the story, “designed to bridge cultures by creating common ground through sharing images, stories, audio clips and videos, leading to common understanding.”

“[It] raises the bar on what we can expect from meaningful relationships and being present in these spaces unapologetically in a way that truly represents the heart of our communities, our women and our knowledge holders who are really keeping this knowledge safe,” George-Jim says. “It is an honour to do this work and anyone who has been a part of this can say this is an investment for our future and for others to build on.”

Explore Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes online at sierraclub.bc.ca/watcherseyes/.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

Metchosin to test tsunami notification on Thursday evening

Approximately 80 to 100 residents in tsunami-zone

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price all summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Saanich police identify suspect in Brydon Park assault

No charges sworn, no arrest made as of July 9

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

Most Read