VIDEO: Statement on Outdoor Classroom and Garden Project at Bayside Middle School


A. Olsen: This evening the Bayside Middle School in Brentwood Bay, my home community, is unveiling its outdoor classroom and peace and friendship garden. The year-long project is entitled “NEPENKÁUTW.” It’s a place of teaching. It’s a land-based learning and environmental stewardship and intercultural friendship project. The school’s administration, the parent advisory council, community members and local businesses worked together to raise the money to build this new space. Students helped to plant the garden. The outdoor classroom and garden will be a special site for environmental, Indigenous and peace education and will be used by all the students and teachers in the school. The school’s unveiling ceremony tonight is auspiciously timed, because today is the United Nations International Day of Peace. As part of the garden, the school has installed the first peace pole in school district 63. The peace pole has the text “May peace prevail on earth,” written in 12 languages, including English, French and SENĆOŦEN, the language of the WSÁNEĆ people and one of the languages taught at the Bayside Middle School. My uncle, Charles Elliott, master carver and member of the W̱JOȽEȽP Village, created the WSÁNEĆ moon’s carving, highlighting our annual cycle. It’s also featured in the Indigenous curriculum taught at the school. This carving will be displayed on the front of the outdoor classroom. The project is also an important symbol of the school’s commitment to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to mark the year of reconciliation. I raise my hands to Bayside Middle School and school district 63, its students, staff and parent advisory committee council, on completing and unveiling this wonderful project in a good way. HÍSWḴE SIÁM.