North Vancouver School District
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Reconciliation is child’s play in North Vancouver with Indigenous-focused playground

March 21, 2021

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‘I grew up in North Vancouver, and in school I never really learned about First Nations at all,’ says Ridgeway elementary school parent Arieanna Schweber, who led a community fundraising drive for the playground project. ‘I learned a lot about France and Britain, but not what was going on in Canada.’ Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

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Brad Baker is principal of the North Vancouver School District Indigenous Education Program.
Photo by NVSD.

Baker said his first thought when Schweber and Ridgeway principal Dean Yeo reached out was gratitude. “There was Indigenous consultation from the outset, not as an afterthought,” said Baker

“Folks are trying to get a stronger understanding and see the importance of including Indigenous voices in the school system.”

The teepee structure and the nature-themed playground will be a place both to learn and play, said Baker, who is a member of the Squamish Nation.​

When the playground officially opens sometime in the spring, there will be a smudging ceremony, followed, no doubt, by the raucous sound of children at play, and perhaps a generation or so down the road, something more.

“I’m the first generation in my family not to go to residential school,” said Baker, “and one day the kids of the kids who are in this school will be able to tell about how Indigenous perspective was brought into their playground.”