Inspiration from Clayton Gauthier – Cree/Dakelh Artist and Author
We are so proud of this collaborative Learning Commons project which included every student at our school. Everyone was able to participate in different ways, from design, sanding, drilling and painting. It was an entirely inclusive project.
Each division looked at the life cycle of the salmon from an Indigenous Perspective and discussed Clayton Gauthier’s powerful images about showing true colours, persevering in the face of struggles, following your heart, honouring your ancestors, protecting the environment and the interconnectedness of life. Safety First from Kindergarten to Grade 7: Sanding the wood and drilling the holes. Thanks to Brian Newbold for the jigs. The painters each did one part of a salmon and were totally engaged in this cooperative, communal project. Over 500 students made 100 fish.The project took one full month to complete, including our discussions and developing an understanding of the perspectives of The Salmon Run. This involved scheduling entire classes as well as small groups into the Learning Commons. The space was taken over by tarps, newspaper, wood and paint cans for the duration of the activity. Our next step is to celebrate this Indigenous project with the school community. We will be hosting a parent tea with The Salmon Run theme and showing a video of images from our learning.
For next time I would remember: Outdoor paint goes a long way – don’t buy too much. Match the drill holes better to the size of the wire. Get very fine sandpaper for the exuberant sanders. Don’t worry about the carpet – we didn’t spill one bit of paint, not one! Regular sweeping keeps the sawdust under control. Wash the brushes immediately. Buy better quality brushes. Most importantly, just jump right in.
Clayton Gauthier. Dakelh translation by Francois Prince.
Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, 2016.
20 pp., stapled pbk., $9.95.
Click image for CM Magazine review.