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

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Saanich council seeks more information after hearing Uptown-Douglas plan

Council asks for further reports on economic, housing, transportation plans for corridor

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Victoria police seize replica handgun and bullets

Unrelated call leads police to functional replica

Flaming object thrown through Victoria restaurant window

Police looking for any witnesses to early-morning incident

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read