In November, faculty and staff from Squamish Waldorf School took part in a two-day reconciliation retreat in Lillooet with Darrell Bob and Theresa Fenton Bob of the St’at’imc Nation. The central goal of the retreat was to reflect on our unseen biases and how old societal hurts continue to be perpetuated — unless we are open to examining our history, behaviours and attitudes.
By going directly to the land, learning from elders and observing traditional Indigenous protocol for these practices, participants stepped away from colonizing habits of asking elders to come to us and to fit into our system and ways. The land, too, is the most profound of teachers, and faculty hope to come into an even stronger relationship with it as educators and explore how a sense of place is a vital part of education.
During the workshop, participants learned through story and ceremony, not shying away from the more difficult topics, to build a new understanding of their role as educators working on unceded Indigenous lands. They were nurtured through the sweat lodge ceremony, sharing circles and the process of making tobacco ties.
Following the retreat, SWS continues to deepen their teaching practice through faculty study, ongoing work with students and sharing their learnings with the parents and the community.
SWS sincerely thanks Darrell Bob and Theresa Fenton Bob for sharing their stories, and would also like to thank Sussan Yáñez and Matt Bishop for volunteering to support the workshop. The workshop was made possible with the generous help of Squamish Savings.
Gabriel Alden Hull, Principal
Squamish Waldorf School