Co-Curricular Making: ONA Water Declaration as Pedagogy

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Central Okanagan School District educators, syilx Elders and Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) members, university faculty, and community educators from across the Okanagan came together in shared commitment to the intents of a five-year research project, Co-Curricular-Making – Honoring Indigenous Connections to Land, Culture, and the Relational Self. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded partnership project is facilitated by Dr. Margaret Macintyre Latta, Director of the Okanagan School of Education.

Held in Bertram Park, Kelowna, BC, the first gathering focused on the ONA Water Declaration as Pedagogy. Participants learned from and alongside Elder Rose Caldwell, Elder Pamela Barnes, and Elder Grouse Barnes, Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Kelly Terbasket, Program Director of IndigenEYEZ, and Dr. Bill Cohen, Associate Professor, Okanagan School of Education. The gathering closed with a smudging and water ceremony led by Elder Rose Caldwell and Elder Grouse Barnes.

Participating educators are taking up the challenge of decolonizing their pedagogies. But, in striving to embrace this curricular responsibility, many are confronted with the need to deepen their understandings of decolonization and local Indigenous Knowledge alongside negotiating the complexities of reconciling conversations with their students, colleagues, and extended communities. The project invests in habits, practices, and ways of being that embody curricular Indigenization for a voluntary group of educators with long-term commitment to project intents and to fostering these efforts in their school and community sites.

By the end of the five-year project, teachers and their students will have gained deeper understandings of syilx culture with teachings that connect land, culture and understandings of self-in-the-world.

Learn more about the partnership project.

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