Point Grey / stəywəte:n PAC

Where Point Grey Parents Connect

Point Grey Secondary/ Sty Wet Tan PAC

February 6, 2006

Minutes

Meeting: 7:30 PM at the Musqueam band office, with approximately 25 people in attendance, including Bev Seed (principal), Earla Calahaisn (teacher) and Faye Mitchell (Musqueam education coordinator).

 

Maureen Bayless and Brook Macy welcomed attendees and thanked Faye Mitchell and the Musqueam community for hosting the February PAC meeting at the band office. They explained that although it was a PAC meeting, it would not follow the usual agenda structure, but would be an informal meeting with discussion directed towards contributing to the awareness of Musqueam culture and heritage in the Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan community.

 

Debra Sparrow, an educator at the Musqueam Museum School, gave a very thoughtful and detailed introduction to concerns and hopes that she (and other members of the Musqueam community) have for the Point Grey/ Sty Wet Tan school.

Among her comments were these observations:

  • The Musqueam Museum school’s Salish weaving program began 20 years ago, with a vision of bringing weaving back to the community.
  • Grade 4 children from all over the city attend the Musqueam program at the Museum of Anthropology. They learn about the science, art, social studies and have an oral lesson, all in connection to the weaving.
  • Debra, and others, want to create a program for Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan students that would embrace all cultures and ‘bring everyone in.’ Students could learn the process of weaving, do a creek walk, learn the life cycles of fish, or how to dye wool (etc). What are land claims? Unlimited possibilities.
  • She would like students who are not from the Musqueam community to learn about the Musqueam community, history, and culture. We should not focus only on the students in the First Nations program.
  • She noted that some Musqueam teens are reluctant to learn about Musqueam culture, or are reluctant to participate in events even when their parents are conducting them in the school, because they don’t think other students think being Musqueam is ‘cool.’ When they see other students taking an interest in Musqueam culture or creating a weaving, they will feel pride.
  • Debra expressed concern that when teenaged Musqueam boys cross Marine Drive, they are ‘expected to act tough.’
  • She said that the community has concerns about the safety of youth.
  • She proposed a five week program for all grade 9 students on politics, land claims, education and understanding Musqueam culture.

 

Brook Macey commented that children between the ages of ten and sixteen are open to new ideas, challenging values, and learning about the community. Early Secondary School is the perfect time to introduce students to other cultures and values.

 

Janis Esau said that it was important that the school and the principal embrace any goals that arose from the evening, so that there would be carry-through. She also said that she’d far prefer her children to be learning about the Musqueam community in CAPP or Social Studies than some of the things they were learning about.

 

Vivian Campbell, also a Musqueam community educator, said that she believed the first place to start was with teachers. Every staff member should spend a day learning about the Musqueam community, its history, issues and culture.

  • She also suggested that there be a “1/2 day Morale Day”, where everyone could make cedar headbands.
  • Her husband had done some art workshops at Point Grey/ Sty Wet Tan in the past, especially with the First Nations program, and they were very successful.
  • She thanked the PAC for coming to the band office and for taking this step. She said that it’s important for children to see adults working together.
  • She explained the importance of the “Sty Wet Tan” name, and how it had been given in a naming ceremony.
  • She said that the community wanted their children to feel, when they entered the school, that this was a natural extension of the education that they’d been receiving up until then in their homes.
  • Seeing “Sty Wet Tan” up on the 37th Avenue sign would help them feel welcome.
  • She stressed that she did not want segregation for Musqueam teens. She wants students from all cultural backgrounds to feel at ease with each other.
  • There are many possibilities for incorporating Musqueam content at school: Art class (carving), sports, fishing,  learning about other cultures.
  • There should be more of a visible presence at Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan, of the Musqueam community. For example, weavings on display or a photo of the chief.

 

Bev Seed passed around a folder showing school letterhead and newsletters with “Sty Wet Tan” on the letterhead. She said that she would try to arrange for teachers to learn about the Musqueam community at a fall Pro D day session, and she’d investigate making changes to the Social Studies 9 curriculum. She also said that it would not be difficult to put a photo of the chief up at the school.

 

Catherine Evans said that last year, the PAC sponsored a new Sty Wet Tan First Nations Grad Award . Vivian’s daughter  Rebecca Campbell was the recipient.

 

Bev Ramey said that students would really benefit from knowing their local history through the Musqueam experience. For example, what was here long ago, where Trafalgar Street is now? Instead of just learning about colonization, students should learn some specifics about this area, with connections drawn between what was here and the people who are here now.

 

Shandon Satina said that, in her experience as a tutor, she’d noticed that some families don’t understand that First Nations people are not an immigrant group. She also said that in many places now, it is normal for people to feel comfortable in more than one culture and more than one language, and it should be easy for us to create an environment at Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan where students feel ‘fluent’ in Musqueam culture as well as the other cultures they belong to.

 

Maureen noted that the meeting had gone overtime. She invited parents to get refreshments. Brook noted the need for a concrete action plan. 

 

 

These are the concrete, immediate goals that came from the meeting:

 

1)     The school would devote at least half of a Pro D day in the fall of 2006 to teaching staff about the Musqueam community. Bev said that she would get rolling with this the next day.

 

2)     The PAC or school would investigate getting a new sign for 37th Ave.

 

3)     The school would consider enriching the Grade 9 Social Studies curriculum with Musqueam content. Bev said that she would meet immediately with Sean O’Connor, head of the SS department. Debra would meet with Faye and Bev to discuss this further.

 

4)     The school would use Grade 8 Orientation camp as a way to ‘break the ice’ between the Musqueam community and others, and dispel stereotypes before they become entrenched.

 

5)     The school will hang the Chief’s portrait.

 

6)     The PAC will provide some parent education opportunities.

 

7)     The PAC will put information about the Musqueam community on its PAC Village website.

 

8)     The school would put nameplates on the house poles that were painted by students, and would also protect these paintings with some sort of varnish.

 

    One project was suggested for a future time, when funding was sufficient: To create a garden on the school grounds with native plants and plants used for dyes and medicines. This was not made one of the immediate goals because of the cost of doing this with school board gardeners

 

Brook and Maureen thanked everyone for their support, enthusiasm and attendance. They also thanked the members of the PAC executive who had brought baked goods. Maureen also invited all attendees to consider becoming a member of next year’s PAC executive.

 

 

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