North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Oct 31
École Braemar’s enriching Pro-D Day
drum making.JPG

by Elizabeth McFarlane


École Braemar’s Professional Development Day was held on Monday, Sept. 23. 

This day was about exploring our role as educators in sharing Indigenous culture and story.

We started our day with Sonja Oliver expressing the Territorial Land Acknowledgement, followed by the singing of the Coast Salish Anthem. Henry Schooner (Q’puts) led the song with his drum.

It was amazing to sing alongside Henry, Gord Dick (Tchilaqs7tchila), and Sydney Doucet, all Indigenous cultural workers who were facilitating our drum making workshop.

We learned about the drum as a heartbeat, a way to connect to Mother Earth, as we used tools to punch tiny holes in our drums, and weave sinew to tie the hide to its rim.

The heartbeat that connects us to the hide on our drum. As we were making our drums we learned the importance of pouring energy and love into our drum to create its spirit.

It felt amazing to be together as a staff, learning and connecting as one big family. We learned how to respect and look after our drum. And about the importance of acknowledging where drum songs and dances came from and who taught them.

Some songs are a gift and some are not.

We started making connections as to how we could use our drum in the classroom as a sensory tool to self regulate. Or as a way to build community by passing the drum around to each student in a circle.

We came up with a plan for our first assembly with our drums for Orange Shirt Day.

We enjoyed a lunch in the library together with our guests, and later in the day Lisa Pedersen (Grade 2 Teacher) led a discussion on place based education in our curriculum.

It was a powerful way to connect to the First Peoples Principles of Learning and to be reminded that an Indigenous person’s sense of self is not separate from the land.

This was my favourite Pro-D Day of all time.

I will remember to think about the story of the drum I made and to let my drum speak to me as I continue on my journey of exploring Indigenous culture and story.

Thank you to Gord, Henry, Sydney, the Indigenous Educational Resource Team, and Lisa Pedersen for making this day possible.

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