School Name: H.J. Cambie Secondary
School District: SD#38 Richmond
Inquiry Team Members: Jessica Eguia: firstname.lastname@example.org, Leanne McColl: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7), Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Career Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Mathematics / Numeracy, Physical & Health Education, Science, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), First Peoples Principles of Learning, Indigenous pedagogy, Land, Nature or Place-based learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To promote a greater awareness and appreciation of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language and culture amongst our school district staff and students.
Scanning: With the support of the Musqueam Language Department, we seek to promote a greater awareness of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language and culture amongst our school district staff and students. Our staff has been engaging with the teaching kit called “Musqueam: Giving information about our teachings” and are developing a deeper sense of the local First Peoples on whose traditional land we live. Nevertheless, we continue to seek ways to learn and integrate the wisdom and world views of the Musqueam people.
During the scanning process, a few Richmond students were asked the four key questions. Many were able to name two people in their setting that believed in them, from teacher librarians, classroom teachers to educational assistants. When asked what they were learning, students named traditional areas of learning, such as math, reading, and writing. Many said this learning was important because it would lead them to a job. When asked how it was going with their learning, many said, “good” or “ok.” The scan proved to be tricky, as we were not sure which teachers would be participating in this professional learning series.
We hoped that with this inquiry and professional learning opportunity, the learners and educators in our school district would continue to develop a humble understanding of, and respect for, Indigenous ways of knowing and being, as well as Indigenous Worldviews.
Focus: This inquiry is a continuation of last year’s spiral of inquiry around localized Indigenous language appreciation. After our submitted case study last year, we realized that our group had just begun our journey and we could continue to partake in meaningful work in consultation with the Musqueam Language Department. We also continue to be inspired by UNDRIP, which was highlighted by our province in the fall of 2019. In particular, Article 13 states that Indigenous peoples around the world are continuously working to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures. We wonder what this can mean for our local context. Moreover, we continue to be inspired by the language revitalization work occurring in other districts within the province.
Hunch: Students and teachers in our district continue to develop humble awareness of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, histories and contemporary realities of the Musqueam via the Musqueam teaching kit “Musqueam: Giving information about our teachings.” Both educators and students are making their way along the learning continuum of including Indigenous content across the curriculum in an appreciative and respectful way. Some educators are wanting to be more respectful when working with the language present in the Musqueam teaching kit. In undertaking this inquiry, our hunch was that through learning from Musqueam facilitators, educators could learn more about language appreciation and local protocols, and deepen their connection with local Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
New Professional Learning: In collaboration with Musqueam voice, we created a language appreciation workshop for staff, and in collaboration with Musqueam community members, we respectfully carried out the work. We are so thankful to those with whom we worked in collaboration, as they allowed us to deepen our learning and offered us and our colleagues a unique opportunity to participate in truth and reconciliation in our educational settings.
Taking Action: We were honoured to provide a hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language appreciation session for Richmond teachers, facilitated by Vanessa Campbell from the Musqueam Language and Culture Department, along with Mack Paul and Courtenay Gibson. In this session, in order to frame our learning, teachers were first directed to the teaching kit called “Musqueam: Giving information about our teachings”, to become familiar with if they were not already, to the teaching resources within the kit. We explored the Delta Animation video in order to better understand the significance of land acknowledgements, and then explored the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly as to how it relates to Indigenous languages and how its adoption in BC may inform BC government legislation and relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ alphabet was then used as a provocation to surface teachers wonderings about the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, Indigenous language revitalization, and local Indigenous peoples. Vanessa Campbell led us through a sharing of the story of the origin of the name Musqueam in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓. We then explored questions from teachers, many of which came from their experiences working with hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language in their classrooms.
Checking: At the end of the session, participants were asked to reflect about their biggest takeaways, their wonderings, and what supports might be helpful in order to implement their learnings. Teachers shared that they appreciated hearing the local language from Musqueam speakers, and were glad to have access to Musqueam created resources online. Teachers also were glad to learn more about language protocols, and how to respect them. Teachers gained new understandings about how to teach about the importance of language, rather than teaching the language itself. Overall, teachers expressed hope for reconciliation through their role in language appreciation and revitalization in schools. Teachers are looking for the district team to assist them in working with teaching about Musqueam language in tangible ways, such as working alongside Richmond teacher and Musqueam community member, Nora Stogan, on QR codes with audioclips of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language in school gardens.
Reflections/Advice: Our journey into hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language appreciation has been valuable to us in continuing our relationship with Musqueam community members and language leaders. We have learned much from our Musqueam facilitators in terms of language and protocols. We have been inspired to provide tangible next steps for teachers. For next year, we plan to continue our hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language appreciation with connections to our district primary study group, and in collaboration with other district teacher consultants around language.