Project Description

The Chief Maquinna Elementary School First Nations Cultural Enhancement Project

Welcome to the Maquinna online book featuring every student in our school.  This First Nations cultural appreciation project stemmed from the reconciliation and collaboration regarding aboriginal cultures in Canada.

Having worked with guest Artist-in-Residence, Susan McCallum previously, I knew she would be the perfect person to facilitate the painting component of this project.  The trick was to provide students with little or no First Nations background or experience an opportunity to successfully access the background information required to create beautiful canvas paintings.

Additionally, we needed way to celebrate our success as a school community and to engage all students in the project.

What follows is the process:

  1. Susan McCallum, as part of her, “Brushstroke with Susan” painting workshop came to the school and gave an orientation and overview of the project and how we perceived the project working.
  2. We arranged to have David Delorme and Trudi Harris from the  Vancouver School Board- District Learning Services come to the school and share some of their aboriginal heritage, stories, and legends with the students.
  3. Our Teacher-Librarian, Dora Kwok, was extremely resourceful and brought many wonderful resources and teaching aides into the school.
  4. For approximately 1 week after David and Trudi presented, teachers continued to read legends and stories to children so that they developed the contextual understanding
  5. Once students had heard stories/ legends/ and myths about First Nations characters, prevalent themes and symbology students began writing their own First Nations stories.  Depending on the grade level, students either used a framed writing sample, poem, or story.
  6. Once the paintings and stories were complete, we used the services of Kate Albright and Marcel (TheCardProject).  Our computer teacher, Kate, helped each child in the school save their work as a pdf doc, and helped collate all writing samples.  Marcelle from TheCardProject, photographed each student’s artwork, and provided the school with free jpeg files of each child’s canvas.
  7. At this point, the project branched into four areas:
    (a) publishing an online book of Maquinna Artist artwork and stories
    (b) publishing a hard cover book of Maquinna Artist artwork and stories
    (c) providing parents a unique opportunity to purchase a beautiful greeting card of their child’s artwork, or notebook with their child’s artwork on the cover
    (d) hosting a Gala Evening ArtShow and Silent Auction
  8. What follows is the online book of Maquinna Artist Artwork.  Enjoy!