Heritage Christian School students (from left to right) Olivia Tarasenco, Jessy McKay, Georgia Peters and Avery Brown learn how Aboriginals tanned hide Thursday morning as part of a field trip. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna students get a lesson on Aboriginal culture

Heritage Christian School students took a field trip to the museum Thursday morning

Grade 3 student Austin Fulton learned lots during his visit to the Kelowna Heritage Museum.

Heritage Christian School students kicked off the start of their new curriculum focusing on Aboriginal content with a field trip Thursday morning.

Fulton was part of the first class which learned about Aboriginal clothing and how it was made.

“I didn’t know that they actually used to boil the skin, but that’s really cool,” said Fulton. “It moistens it so they were actually able to take off the fur.”

He is also curious how the First Nations lived, “like what they used to build their houses of, and how they hunt stuff (compared to) how they do now. But I do know they hunted with spears. It’d be kind of hard to throw it.”

Two Grade 3 classes engaged in workshops, learning the history of Aboriginals in the Okanagan Valley with salmon and storytelling, followed by an interactive lesson on culture. Students then created their own backpack chains with beads and leather.

“We thought coming to the museum would be a great start off point to really get them immersed and really see the artifacts and visualize what life was like in past culture,” said teacher Amy Whittome.

“The First Nations have been here a lot longer than us, so it teaches them to respect the culture that was here before and appreciate how they lived with the land and used resources in a very sustainable way.”

One of the museum’s mandate is to focus on teaching sustainability and bringing knowledge about climate change to students so they can learn and respect these things, said education assistant Shimshon Obadia.

“This is one of many programs we offer and it’s all focused on the heritage of the Okanagan including the Okanagan people,” he said.

Obadia created the interactive program, where students get to touch the artifacts they otherwise wouldn’t be able to hold in a classroom.

“My background is in theatre, so I try to incorporate a performative aspect to it so they can embody the knowledge, so even if they don’t remember every single fact, they come away with a built-in impression,” he said.

Fulton remembered his previous visits to the museum.

“When I went here there used to be a tent with big, wooden logs,” he said.

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