CLUXEWE RESORT—Students from Port Hardy and North Island secondary schools escaped their classrooms for a day at the beach Monday.
But that doesn’t mean they avoided the day’s lessons.
School District 85 hosted grade 8 students and others from both schools in the inaugural Cluxewe Cultural Sharing Project at the local campground and estuary.
Students, staff and chaperones in attendance were split into groups that rotated through four workshop stations to learn about the history, culture and ecology of the area, an ancient Kwakiutl village and fishery site.
The four workshop themes were ecology, history, culture and harvesting, which included fishing for pink and coho salmon from both the beach and from the banks of the estuary.
The various stations were staffed by First Nations elders and volunteers, as well as educators, who guided students through Kwakwaka’wakw history and culture.
Through nature trail hikes of the estuary and surrounding forest, students learned of both the ecology and the business and management side of Cluxewe Resort by Tommy Child, resort manager Mike Child, Jenette Child and Davis Henderson.
The history workshop included lessons on plants, medicines, coming of age and storytelling, led by Hazel Wilson, Wata Christine Twance, Betty Walkus, Shannon Alfred and Alice Svanvik.
The culture workshop allowed participants to engage in traditional games, weaving skills, technology and bracelet making. These activities were overseen by Verna Chartrand, Maria Patskovski, Stephanie Nelson, Ross Hunt Jr., Donna Cranmer and Anthony Hunt.
The fishing was overseen by NISS teacher Frank Purdon.
A barbecue lunch was provided by Cluxewe staff and volunteers, and SD85 principal Kaleb Child and Ross Hunt Jr. led a demonstration of a traditional aboriginal salmon barbecue over an open cedar fire.