(Alexis Park Elementary students attach their carved salmon on the school fence. Submitted by School District 22)

(Alexis Park Elementary students attach their carved salmon on the school fence. Submitted by School District 22)

Vernon elementary school honours food chiefs

The display is a special tribute to the Okanagan people

  • Nov. 5, 2019 10:21 a.m.

Students at Alexis Park Elementary have finally finished a two-year-long project that honours the Okanagan People.

For the last two years, students have been learning the story of How Food Was Given and the Four Food Chiefs. The Four Food Chiefs are Skmixst (Bear), Ntitiyix (Salmon), Spitlem (Bitterroot), and Siya (Saskatoon Berry). In the story, the Chiefs talk about what the people would need to live and what they can contribute.

Tolko Industries and Coldstream Lumber donated wood to the school. Students and teachers from Seaton Secondary cut and carved the wood in the shape of salmon and were given to each Alexis Park student to paint.

School District 22’s communications director Maritza Reilly said the first phase of the project was finished last week as students fastened a salmon to the school fence along 43rd Avenue.

“The students are very proud of the work they have done,” Alexis Park’s Aboriginal Support Worker Kathy Morgan said.

“They really get to honour how food was given to them and we all look forward to building upon this project, year after year until we are able to show all four of the Food Chiefs.”

Alexis Park’s principal Michael Sutch said it has been a real collaboration.

“From our community partners, Tolko and Coldstream Lumber, to the students and teachers at Alexis Park and Seaton. We’ve built a strong community within our school and when we can show our students that the external community also cares about them, it gives them a stronger sense of belonging. We are very grateful,” Sutch said.

After students placed their carved salmon on the fence, they received a cedar salmon necklace from the Aboriginal Education Department, Reilly added.

The display is a special tribute to the Okanagan People. Reilly said they look forward to seeing the display grow.

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