SD70’s biennial First Nations spring festival goes virtual for 2021

EJ Dunn principal Darrin Olson, left, and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Richard Samuel, right, present Trey Kyte, second from left, with his Grades 2-3 Spring Festival 2021 winning poster. With them are Kytes fellow banner painters Liam Horbatch, Sybil Purwins and Macen Avery. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)EJ Dunn principal Darrin Olson, left, and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Richard Samuel, right, present Trey Kyte, second from left, with his Grades 2-3 Spring Festival 2021 winning poster. With them are Kytes fellow banner painters Liam Horbatch, Sybil Purwins and Macen Avery. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Richard Samuel from Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, back left, and EJ Dunn principal Darrin Olson, back right, present Kyra Papove, right, with her Spring Fest 2021 winning poster. Joining them are banner painters Azlynn Keinas, left, and Samantha Blakely. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)Richard Samuel from Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, back left, and EJ Dunn principal Darrin Olson, back right, present Kyra Papove, right, with her Spring Fest 2021 winning poster. Joining them are banner painters Azlynn Keinas, left, and Samantha Blakely. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Kaitlyn Powell, a Grade 12 student at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, was also a poster winner for the 2021 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Spring Festival with her drawing of an elder behind a modern Indigenous woman. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Kaitlyn Powell, a Grade 12 student at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, was also a poster winner for the 2021 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Spring Festival with her drawing of an elder behind a modern Indigenous woman. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)Kaitlyn Powell, a Grade 12 student at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, was also a poster winner for the 2021 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Spring Festival with her drawing of an elder behind a modern Indigenous woman. (SUBMITTED PHOTO) Kaitlyn Powell, a Grade 12 student at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, was also a poster winner for the 2021 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Councils Spring Festival with her drawing of an elder behind a modern Indigenous woman. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The biennial School District 70/ Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council spring festival has gone virtual for 2021.

Spring fest has been ongoing since 2000, running every second year. The festival went virtual this year due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting the way students from various schools could gather together, said Richard Samuel, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s (NTC) cultural development supervisor.

“It’s a great event. We have to hold it virtually this year because of the pandemic but we wanted to showcase the talent of students.”

The district’s Nuu-chah-nulth education workers led the schools in their programming. Stephanie Hawkins from ADSS assembled all the school’s videos or Power Point presentations into the hour-long presentation. The spring festival video is available for public viewing at https://youtu.be/ad0XemwyWQg.

“We are celebrating the Indigenous learning that is happening in all SD70 schools,” school board chair Pam Craig said in the video.

“Every student is benefiting from gaining an understanding of the Indigenous world views.”

Bella Fred, elected councillor of Tseshaht First Nation, brings greetings from her nation in the video’s introduction. “We’re happy to stand in support of the efforts of SD70 and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council to showcase Indigenous learning. Tseshaht recognizes the importance of holding onto our roots and our teachings, and the positive impact this has on our children to know where they come from.”

Each school is featured in the video, showing some of the activities in which both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students participated in the 2020-21 school year. Some of these projects included learning to sing and speak in Nuu-chah-nulth language, a canoe project at ADSS, Fix the Fence at ADSS where students decorated fence pickets while talking about the issues surrounding reconciliation and how it relates to them.

Geena Haiyupis is seen gifting a new Indigenous art-inspired ADSS Armada A logo, which school athletic director Mike Roberts said will be used to showcase the school.

Roberts added that this is something he has wanted to do with the logo for a long time. “When I saw other schools beat us to the table they were using an…’Indigenized’ version of their school logo. We adopted this A as a part of our athletic department logo a few years ago. It has become very mainstream and simplified, and easy for the school to use; and recognized.”

He and Haiyupis discussed the vision for the athletic department and what traits might be built into a logo. “She came up with a couple of variations and a few tweaks, and as a result we have our Indigenized A. Which I can’t be more happy about.”

EJ Dunn and Eighth Avenue Learning Centre held poster contests, with winners’ posters from EJ Dunn being painted on banners as part of the Rotary Banner program from Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith.

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