Fall Winter Update from Kitasoo/Xai’xais Community School, January 2016

OUR SEAS PROGRAM kicked off the first day of school in September with an Ocean's Day activity. Students learned directly from marine biologists about some of the sea animals which had been collected in a touch tank. Classroom teachings continued to focus on the ocean throughout September, with supporting lessons focused on traditional Xai'Xais language, culture, harvesting and cooking lessons. There was great student interest expressed in the traditional methods of food preparation and cooking. High school students participated in fish harvesting, where they had the opportunity to harvest, clean, preserve and cook their catch. They then took their meal home to share with their families!  Community elders also shared their knowledge of preserving fruit, all the while sharing traditional stories and Xai'Xais words. 

October focused on the themes of Elders and Respect.  Early in the month, 40 participants including students, parents and staff ventured out on a jigging trip to Nowish and the south end of Sarah Island. We caught all different kinds of cod but had no luck catching any halibut! We were challenged by strong tides and finicky boat engines, but we learned much about patience. We filleted, bagged and preserved our catch, and later in the month it was cooked up and served at the Elder and Grandparents Luncheon on October 22.  

Elders and grandparents also received dried roots of the hellabore, a traditional medicinal plant, that had been bravely collected and dried by our students on a rainy October afternoon. Students learned the importance of indigenous medicinal plants and the traditional techniques to harvest, preserve and make medicines from them.

At the Elders and Grandparents luncheon, traditional names were placed on the students & staff. Those receiving names danced and the grade 6/7/8 students sang the four crest song.  Everyone celebrated together over a meal of stew beef soup, mulligan, canned salmon hash, and cod.

December's weather kept us busy indoors, with penpal letters to students in Bella Bella, hand sewing, drumming and singing traditional songs, cooking traditional foods, and celebrating the Christmas season. January's focus was on "Responsibility", including knowledge about our clans and traditional names. Students also learned about cedar weaving, shellfish harvesting, and started studying the Sea Wolves book.