Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council hopes for resolution between parent, SD70

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has released a statement on court case involving student and Indigenous smudging ceremony.

Deb Foxcroft

All cultures should be encouraged in the education system, but no student should feel pressured to participate in any one of them, says Deb Foxcroft, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

The NTC released a statement on Thursday following the revelation that a Port Alberni parent is taking School District 70 to court, claiming her child was forced to participate in an Indigenous smudging or cleansing ceremony.

Candice Servatius filed a petition earlier in November with the BC Supreme Court saying her children were required to take part in what she says were religious practices at John Howitt Elementary School in September 2015.

She alleges there was also a second incident in January 2016 involving a First Nations prayer at an assembly.

According to the petition, Servatius claims school officials have refused to honour the School Act and the Charter of Rights provisions respecting religious neutrality.

Foxcroft said the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is disappointed to learn that a resolution has not been found between the mother and the school district.

“While the NTC seeks to have Nuu-chah-nulth culture, in particular our language, alive and present throughout the schools in the district, we do not want any student or staff to feel pressured to participate in our culture,” Foxcroft noted in a prepared statement.

“Nuu-chah-nulth is not a religion. We are a group of Indigenous people who have been here on the West Coast of Vancouver Island since time immemorial. Our language and culture is what makes us unique.

“Although residential schools attempted to strip every piece of who we are and where we come from, our culture has survived. From songs, dances, artwork, regalia, ceremonies and much more, the act of “praying” is only a small sample of our culture, not our ‘religion’.

“It is important to encourage all cultures throughout our education system. With regard to Indigenous or First Nations culture, the practices of each individual First Nations are unique and many students in the district come from other First Nations. This incident could be a window of opportunity for SD 70 to share not only the culture of people whose territories the school reside on, but all Canadians and their distinct cultural backgrounds. Reconciliation is a two-way street which the Nuu-chah-nulth are committed to.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Port Alberni city council to ‘stay on course’ for five-year budget plan

Next budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m

Alberni businesses nominated for Island excellence

Coulson Ice Blast, Port Posh Wash, the Blue Marlin Inn and Totem… Continue reading

BCHL: Speedy left winger commits to Bulldogs

Forward Ethan Jang will be suiting up for the 2018-19 season

Rollin Art Centre open now

Make sure to renew your Community Arts Council membership

BCHL: Bulldogs take the ice after trade deadline

Alberni team picked up one loss, one win with new roster

Parksville MakerSpace members ride the rails

New room added for model train enthusiasts; workshop set for Jan. 21

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Most Read