LETTER: Children need to be able to learn about each other

Court case could take that away

To the Editor,

Re: Court case between a parent and School District 70 over smudging in a classroom.

When my niece visited me last summer we found a beautiful shell in Kiixin beach. A First Nations man saw it and told Rachel how lucky she was because he was always looking for one for smudging. My niece, in a non-whisper whisper that children use, asked me if she should give it to him. He heard her and replied, “the creator meant for you to have it.”

My niece is Jewish. Instead of this upsetting her because his beliefs were different from hers it made her curious. She asked questions, and when we got home we got some sage, an eagle feather she found on the Somass River, and we made her a smudging kit.

A few weeks passed and she FaceTimed me. She wanted to take her smudging kit to show and tell at school and she wanted to make sure she remembered how to teach the other kids about smudging. I was so proud of her. She took something she learned here about another culture and taught it to a bunch of her peers in Toronto.

If this court case is successful other children won’t learn about each other. They won’t understand each other. We can’t afford to have that happen to our First Nations students, in particular, because they are only just starting to shake the shame their family members were taught to feel about their culture. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Heather Thomson,

Mirkwood Communications,

Port Alberni

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