North Vancouver School District
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Celebrating back to school by honouring First Nations’ partners

October 26, 2016

​The North Vancouver School District honours the traditional territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations on which we learn, share and grow. We are committed to working collaboratively with these two partners to ensure success for every student. To celebrate these partnerships and demonstrate the importance of them, a back to school community dinner was recently hosted at both the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.


"Aboriginal education is important to ensure success for all students. As a school district we are committed to reconciliation via rich, meaningful and accurate education of First Nations history, culture and ways of knowing. The collaborative relationships we have with our local First Nations are central to this commitment," said Brad Baker, District Principal, North Vancouver School District.


On September 28, 2016, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the North Vancouver School District hosted a joint dinner at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation community centre. Tsleil-Waututh Nation families came together with local educators and their families to enjoy a meal and celebrate the broader community within which we all live and work. In an act of reconciliation and working together, the North Vancouver School District returned to Tsleil-Waututh a 1964 wooden canoe carving by Chief Dan George.


North Vancouver School District Superintendent Mark Pearmain returns a 1964 wooden canoe carving by Chief Dan George to Tsleil-Waututh Nation member Gabriel George.

"It was such an honour to be welcomed by the Tsleil-Waututh community. Sharing a meal together was enjoyable on so many fronts. Seeing students and parents connect with their teachers and principals outside of school was really special. I am humbled that I was able to get to know the Tsleil-Waututh community a little bit better. Our school district is committed to ensuring all students and staff become more knowledgeable of local First Nations – both historically and currently," said Mark Pearmain, Superintendent, North Vancouver School District.


On October 13, 2016, Squamish Nation hosted a welcome back to school dinner in partnership with the North Vancouver School District. The event took place in the Squamish Nation longhouse where a meal was accompanied by traditional Squamish ceremony.


North Vancouver School District Assistant Superintendent Chris Atkinson, Assistant Superintendent Pius Ryan and Superintendent Mark Pearmain are honoured by Squamish Nation members in a traditional ceremony

"It was a great honour to be invited to a ceremony that has been in place for thousands of years, blanketed, presented to the community, and addressed by leaders of the Squamish Nation. The mutual respect and commitment to supporting children that is shared between us is a strengthening and powerful bond. It is through this work that we will reach genuine reconciliation," said Chris Atkinson, Assistant Superintendent, North Vancouver School District.


Both events were hosted as a means of bringing local First Nations families and educators together to share a meal. Those in attendance reported enjoying their time and the connections they made. From a more holistic perspective, the events also had symbolic significance.


"While we were really just coming together to enjoy good food with good people, the events also demonstrate the deep commitment the North Vancouver School District, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Squamish Nation have to improving learning for all students. It is by working together that we can support every child to reach his or her personal best," said Pius Ryan, North Vancouver School District.