students of Ditidaht Community School prepare to perform for peers at École Willows School on May 20.

students of Ditidaht Community School prepare to perform for peers at École Willows School on May 20.

École Willows School and Ditidaht Community School come together

Students share in an afternoon of song and dance springing from a Christmas shoebox program

Ditidaht visits Willows



Song and dance celebrated a meeting between École Willows School and Ditidaht Community School last week. The genesis of the visit came when a parent suggested a handful of Willows classes create Christmas shoeboxes for the Ditidaht First Nation.

“That was the seed… it got planted and watered and grew into something amazing as many things at Willows have a habit of doing. Before long all our students, staff and parents were involved. It was truly wonderful,” said vice-principal Christine Patterson. “We so appreciate being given this opportunity for relationship building and extending our community. All of us have truly benefited and will continue to as we look to the future and ways to strengthen our ties.”

When the schools united May 20 under sunny skies, Ditidaht students, awed by the large Willows population, offered traditional dances accompanied by a drum circle. Auggie Thomas of the Esquimalt First Nation also performed a welcome song, and another where he had the entire crowd of students and parents from both schools clapping in unison to the drumbeat.

Ditidaht traditional territory stretches inland from Cowichan Lake, down through Nitinat Lake, and to the coast between Bonilla Point and Pachena Point.