North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Skw'une-was Program (Grade 3)

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The Skw'une-was program is an overnight Indigenous cultural learning experience developed together with Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Elders. In the Skwxwú7mesh language, Skw'une-was means 'together' and reflects the traditional teachings of sharing, respect, and seasonality. These foundational teachings support a deeply rooted respect for the natural world on which this award-winning program is based.

Working together in traditional family groups including Plant Gatherers, Wood and Cedar Bark Workers, Wool Weavers, and Hunters/Fishers, students along with their teacher(s), support staff, and parent elders are immersed in the daily life of a traditional Ch'iyáḵmesh village. From receiving a ceremonial longhouse name to cooking over hot rocks and sleeping in a Coast Salish longhouse, the learning experience is powerful and lasting for students and adults alike

Connecting to Curriculum

FirstPeoplesPrincipals.jpgThe Skw'une-was program is designed to meet a range of curricular connections for students and is aligned with the First People's Principles of Learning.

Program objectives include:

  • Enhancing students' understanding of, and respect for, First Nations culture in general, and the pre-contact longhouse culture of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people, in particular.
  • Providing an immersive indigenous cultural learning experience based on students and adults living communally and participating in traditional daily activities of the Coast Salish people.
  • Promoting greater understanding and awareness of the beliefs and traditional values of the Coast Salish culture in relation to sharing, the seasons, and respect for others and the environment.

Click here to learn more about the North Vancouver School District's Indigenous Education current goals and initiatives.